Euphoria: A Novel - Inc. Blackstone Audio,  Inc., Lily King, Xe Sands, Simon Vance

Euphoria, set in the 1930's and loosely based on a portion of the life of Margaret Mead, was a haunting and beautiful listen.

I'm not usually one for historical fiction, so this was a special treat. What made it haunting was all the little ways that things weren't quite right with each of the main characters. They live in this world of observation and research and appear to have very little actual intimacy with those around them and it has an affect on their emotional and mental well-being. Personally, I've been in similarly prolonged alone-in-a-crowd situations. I've seen this play out among others and myself in life and felt that King's telling of this occurrence and the ways that people cope to be authentic. It left me with that haunting feeling.

My favorite thing about the book is the way it dealt with some issues that would now be considered "feminist issues." Mainly, what can happen in a marriage when the wife is more successful than the husband. Their unique circumstances and unusual work locale give these reactions their own flavor, but they don't veer outside of plausible behavior. I also thought the inclusion of a bisexual character, particularly among the POV characters, fascinating. I have never had a familiar enough relationship with anyone who openly identifies as bisexual to critique the writing of this character, but I found her interesting. Her POV explanations of it made perfect sense to me, though they could be totally off and I would never know the difference.

The only thing that I found disappointing at times was that the male POVs felt a little like they took over, especially toward the end. I would like to have heard more from the mind of Nell Stone. 

This was beautifully written and beautifully performed. I listened to it for my "audiobook that has won an Audie award" for the Read Harder Challenge. I may not have ever come across it otherwise. I'm glad I did!


Have you read Euphoria? What did you think?