Euphoria

euphoriaEuphoria
by Lily King
2014/ 258 pages
Rating: 9 / general fiction

Fictionalized story of the relationship between Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune and Gregory Bateson in 1933, Sepik New Guinea.

Starring Nell Stone as Margaret Mead – heh  – And Schuyler Fenwick (Fen) as Reo Fortune, Nell’s husband,  a New Zealand social anthropologist , as Mead’s second husband and field co-researcher.   Andrew Bankson plays the part of Gregory Bateson, anthropology scholar and eventually Mead’s 3rd husband.   There’s also Betty Sumner – 2nd wife – is this the Bette in the novel?  And Ruth Benedict, a later romantic interest for Margaret, played by Helen in a brief flashback.

The three field researchers are studying the tribes of the Sepik Basin of New Guinea but the names of the tribes have also been changed for the novel. –

The story is told from the points of view of Bankson and Nell, Bankson’s portions using first person at a much later time, Nell’s from notes and letters she wrote at the time.

I was prepared to really dislike this book for the emphasis I thought there would be on the romance – wrong, that starts subtle and is developed gradually with a lot of fascinating and well written narrative forming the bulk. Much of what King describes is historical, but the plot line is almost entirely fiction I think.  And for that reason I can’t really call it historical fiction.

Bottom line – it took me hours and hours to finish the last 30 pages or so – I really didn’t want it to end so I found all sorts of stuff to keep me busy – even vacuuming!

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