Euphoria – A Brief Introduction

Euphoria is a compelling and critically acclaimed novel written by Lily King. Set in the 1930s, this captivating story takes readers on a journey to the remote and exotic territories of New Guinea, where three young anthropologists find their lives intertwined amidst the backdrop of a fascinating tribal culture.

Plot Summary

The story revolves around Nell Stone, a gifted and fiercely determined anthropologist who has dedicated her life to studying the Tam tribe of New Guinea. Nell’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding takes her to the most remote corners of the world, where she immerses herself in the traditions, rituals, and beliefs of the people she studies.

When Nell’s research collides with the work of Andrew Bankson, a fellow anthropologist, and his enigmatic wife, Fen, their lives become intertwined in ways they never could have imagined. As they each navigate their own personal desires and ambitions, they find themselves entangled in a complex web of love, jealousy, and intellectual exploration.

Awards and Recognition

Euphoria has received widespread acclaim and recognition since its publication. Notably, it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Kirkus Prize in 2014. The novel’s exquisite storytelling and its exploration of themes such as cultural relativism, the ethics of fieldwork, and the quest for knowledge have resonated with readers and critics alike.


Nell Stone: The protagonist of the novel, Nell is a bold and ambitious anthropologist who is passionate about studying different cultures. She is highly respected in her field but struggles with personal demons and the constant search for meaning in her work.

Andrew Bankson: A fellow anthropologist who becomes infatuated with Nell’s intelligence and charisma. Bankson is haunted by his own past failures and desires a sense of connection and purpose in his work.

Fen: Andrew Bankson’s enigmatic wife, who is equally complex and intriguing. She challenges the boundaries of traditional gender roles and poses a threat to the dynamics between Nell and Andrew.

Critics and Praise

King’s ability to vividly portray the intricate tribal customs and beliefs of the Tam tribe has been praised by literary critics. The novel’s exploration of the complexities of human relationships, cultural understanding, and the pursuit of knowledge has captivated readers and earned it a place among the great literary masterpieces of our time.

Reviewers have hailed Euphoria as a thought-provoking and beautifully written novel that delves deep into the human psyche. The power dynamics, intense emotions, and intellectual debates that unfold within the pages of this book make it a must-read for anyone fascinated by cultures, relationships, and the pursuit of knowledge.

So, dive into the mesmerizing world of Euphoria and let Lily King’s remarkable storytelling take you on an unforgettable journey of discovery and self-reflection.

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