Euphoria by Lily King || 256 Pages || 5/5 Review
Okay so I actually read this book a long time ago, in like, July or something. Idk why it took me so long to review, seeing as it was definitely my favorite book of the whole year. I took photos of it several times but just never got around to posting about it anywhere.
It’s funny how we find books. It’s kind of like finding romances… sometimes they come to us through friends, sometimes we search for them. Sometimes, we’re searching for a Stephen King book and find out that it’s not stocked, but right where it’s supposed to be is a book by someone named Lily King with an intriguing cover. A book I’ve never heard of, but is weirdly enticing…
Euphoria is by all standards, a mild romance with plenty of conflict and a love-triangle. But it’s also an anthropological look at a time and place that very very few people have ever experienced. The setting is the star of the show and the characters are just the avenue of moving through scenes.
Placed in the 1930s, the book feels true to the era with a fading sense of glamour and the underbelly of global views on women’s rights is presented accurately. Euphoria illustrates the tension of a time when women were defying gender roles and taking on what was considered to be more masculine jobs. It also, more beautifully, depicts a literal setting of the island of Papua New Guinea, still one of the world’s least-settled regions. Easily the most intriguing part of the book (or any other book I read this year) was the impeccably well-researched descriptions of the tribes and cultures that the characters experienced.
Nell, the main character is an anthropologist studying alongside her rather jerkish husband Fen along the Sepik river. Under the lens of very little technology (including technologies in gear and medicine outside of the obvious modern technologies), the book weaves a story such as we could never possibly experience and in many ways, feels less historical fiction than it does pure fantasy. Lily King describes some of the last humans on Earth who have never seen a white person.
From cannibals, to sexual tension, to foreign illnesses to long-lost artifacts, this book is incredibly engaging and sublimely beautiful.