EUPHORIA by Lily King
This title has been on my list for awhile. It got lots of great press back in 2014 when it came out. As stated in the liner notes, the events of the novel are loosely based on events in the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead.
Nell Stone, an American anthropologist already famous for having produced a provocative title about coming of age in a “primitive” tribe and her husband, Fen, in the same trade but from Australia, encounter yet another colleague, the English Andrew Bankson as they embark on a search for a “new” tribe to study. The second to the last one was…too dull. The one they just departed from was too bloodthirsty for Nell’s taste. They wish to avoid the Sepik River, as Bankson has been working with a tribe located there. He persuades them that there are tribes to spare, and introduces them to the Tam.
I found this book to be quite wonderful. I would characterize it as a subtle and delicious elixir, composed of a potent and exotic liqueur shaken together with tropical juices and flavors until rich and frothy and so divine you are driven to guzzle it and it goes straight to your head and still you cannot stop consuming it. The writing is careful, stunning. The emotional and intellectual interactions are engaging, compelling, disturbing and, ultimately, destructive. If you value quality literary fiction and you have not already read this book: read this book!