Saturday, June 21, 2014

“Euphoria” by Lily King – The Love of Intellectualism

Euphoria by Lily King – Front cover
One would seldom think of anthropology as being the career where passionate love triangles would arise; they generally concentrate on their studies in seclusion. However, in Euphoria by Lily King, an anthropological study becomes the catalyst which sets off a series of events, plunging three young anthropologists in their thirties into a deep and passionate love triangle which begins to threaten not only their careers, but also their personal well-being.

Just to give a brief overview of the story, it begins by introducing us to Andrew Bankson, a lonely and isolated anthropologist who is just about ready to take his own life, in no small part thanks to his brother's death. Just as he is about to leave this world, he makes the encounter of Nell Stone, and her husband Fen. They had both just escaped the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and are yearning for new discoveries. Bankson obliges them when he finds a new, female-dominated tribe nearby, called the Tam. And so the research of this tribe sets the three unwitting protagonists on a course they could never have predicted, one that perhaps took them beyond the limits of their profession.

To begin with, one of the first things I've noticed about the novel is just how well the characters are depicted, how deeply their thoughts and natures are examined. Naturally, the fact that there are so few characters to follow gives King plenty of space to develop them as she sees fit, and she takes fully advantage of that; by the end of it, the characters feel all to real. As the story goes on, we truly to begin to care for each one of them, seeing that they were just unwitting people who were at the right place at the wrong time.

If there is a gripe to be had with this book, I'd say it is the pace itself. There are long and, dare I say, laborious stretches of text to read through at times; it's not that King talks about nothing during them, it's just that they often appear when it feels like the time has come to advance the story in one way or another. There are times when the pace starts to pick up, but it always ends up dropping relatively soon. If you do not mind the kind of reading where you are asked to stop and smell the roses, then you aren't going to find this to be a problem.

All things considered, if you are searching for a different kind of romance novel, one that explores all aspects of it through extremely well-developed characters, then I can do nothing but recommend you this solid piece of literature.

Lily King

Lily King

Personal site

Lily King is an American novelist who studied at both the University of North Carolina and the Syracuse University. She wrote numerous novels including The Pleasing Hour, The English Teacher, and Father of the Rain. She was the recipient of the Raymond Carver Prize for Fiction, the 2000 Whiting Writers'award, and is a MacDowell Colony fellow.

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