Euphoria by Lily King
This is the story of three anthropologists studying the tribes of New Guinea in the 1930s. Two of the anthropologists are a married couple, two very different people who seem to have a great ability to understand native peoples but not each other. The third is an anthropologist who put rocks in his pockets and walked in to the river a few days before the couple arrived. The newcomers have given him reason to live, especially Nell, who he is captivated with at their first meeting. The three find themselves among the Tam, a tribe with very interesting views about gender roles when compared to life in the “civilized” world.
This book is getting a lot of buzz for the similarities between Nell and Margaret Mead, who was apparently a famous anthropologist. I am a little embarrassed that I didn’t know who she was because most reviewers write their reviews in such a matter of fact style that assumes everyone knows who she was. (After talking to a few colleagues I feel much better, they didn’t know who she was either!) The good thing is that this book made me want to find out more about her to see the similarities between fiction and reality.
A slim book with a complete story that makes you think and question as you go along.