Euphoria, by Lily King
(2014, Atlantic Monthly Press / Blackstone Audio)
Format: audio download (read by Simon Vance and Xe Sands)
From Goodreads: "From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives.
English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers’ deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone’s control."
June is Audiobook Month! Which means, really, that June is yet another chance for me to tell you people that you should listen to audiobooks, because they are The Best. Case in point: Euphoria.
Back in my college days, I studied a bit of anthropology, and learned a bit about Margaret Mead, but nothing in particular about her personal life. King's novel plays closely with that life, but Nell, Fen, and Bankson are wholly independent of their real-life inspirations. Nell is magnetic, both to the men in her life and to the people she works with - and definitely for the reader. Her voice is broken and strong and intriguing and true. And the vision of her we get through Bankson's eyes highlights her fascinating nature.
Oh, to be an anthropologist studying an anthropologist like her!
The narrative team of Vance and Sands is a dream. I may or may not have raved extensively about them both (okay, I have), and to have them together on this project was magic for me. No wonder this book won the Audie for Literary Fiction last month! It's a gorgeous production. I'm so glad it found its way into my ears.