Friday, January 30, 2015

Not Exactly Euphoric


As they were leaving the Mumbanyo, someone threw something at them. It bobbed a few yards from the stern of the canoe. A pale brown thing.
'Another dead baby,' Fen said.
He had broken her glasses by then, so she didn't know if he was joking.

The opening lines of Euphoria by Lily King, among the oddest I've encountered, left me feeling slightly off-balance. Unfortunately, I was never able regain my equilibrium or fully connect with the novel.

Inspired by events in the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria tells the story of "three young, gifted anthropologists in the 1930s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives."

I listened to the book in December after it was offered as an audible daily deal. In addition to the price, there were three additional draws:
-  it had appeared on several year-end "Best of" lists
-  I have a vague interest in both anthropology and Margaret Mead
-  narrators Simon Vance and Xe Sands are among my favorites

While I found lots of interesting anthropological tidbits, the novel itself just didn't have much of an impact on me.

The high point was definitely the narration. Euphoria perfectly lends itself to a dual narrator production and the combination of Simon Vance with Xe Sands was inspired. Vance, narrating the larger portion as Englishman Andrew Bankson, easily slips in and out of an Aussie accent. Sands narration adds depth and understanding to the character of Nell Stone.

Not a favorite by any means, but I'm glad I listened.

My rating:



Euphoria
by Lily King
narrated by Simon Vance, Xe Sands
Blackstone Audio, 2014
6 hours and 53 minutes

24 comments:

  1. I'm glad you see your review of this. It's on my list, but I've seen nothing but positive reviews. Sometimes I think you need to hear the pros and cons to fully appreciate the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa - It does seem like everyone else has loved this book :(

      Delete
  2. I bet Sands and Vance were a great narrating combination. Sorry the book didn't shine more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - That was truly a stellar combination!

      Delete
  3. Too bad I missed that Audible daily special as this appeals to me. When I was a young girl Margaret Mead was one of the heroines among my friends and I. We imagined ourselves as her, the strong woman studying primitive tribes. It didn't occur to us to think about her in a passionate love triangle. I'm not sure I want to read the book. It might spoil my pristine image of her. Just joking. It sounds like it might be rather interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margot - You can sign up for the daily deal e-mail, but then you'll end up buying more books ;-)

      Most people have loved this book and, given your background interest, I bet you would, too.

      Delete
  4. I bought this one from audible based on some rave reviews, and yes Simon and Xe's narration was a big part too. I've get to listen, but it's short so maybe sometime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anita - Hope it works better for you. I should have included the length as a plus, too ;-)

      Delete
  5. I tried the audio as well Joann and for me it was a DNF...just couldn't get into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane - It's possible we are the only ones who didn't love it!

      Delete
  6. I labored through it and felt the same way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patty - Glad to know I was not the only one. We still seem to be a small minority though...

      Delete
  7. This was one that was not on my radar at all until all the "Best of" lists came out in December...and I of course thought I'd missed all the fun and needed to read it this year even though I'm not really interested in anthropology at all. So, in a way I'm glad to hear you found it underwhelming so now I don't have to make my TBR even longer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah - I'd say it would be safe for you to skip it, especially if you don't have much interest in anthropology.

      Delete
  8. I've seen this on the best of lists but the premise never grabbed me. From the review it sounds okay but not something I really should go out of my way to read. Glad you enjoyed it even if you didn't love it and the narration does sound good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - I wasn't interested much in the premise either. The narrator duo was the draw for me.

      Delete
  9. This does sound somewhat of a strange book. I'm not very sure if it will be for me, but your review makes it sound better than the premise I read before. I will have to check it out. Sorry that it didn't quite work for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athira - As Sarah keeps reminding me, I should make use of the "read a sample now" button for my kindle. That might be a good way to sample this one.

      Delete
  10. I'm half way through reading it now Joann...& I confess that I'm loving it. Curiously the 3 anthropolgists are not always the most sympathetic of characters, but their experiences in New Guinea are extraordinary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brona - Your reaction is certainly more typical. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the story more if I'd read rather than listened...

      Delete
  11. I've become convinced that Simon Vance can do no wrong but it sounds like maybe you think you might have enjoyed it more "hearing" it in your own head?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa - That's quite possible. As much as I enjoyed the narration, I do wonder if I should have tried print instead.

      Delete
  12. When I read the premise, this one really didn't appeal to me, but all the glowing reviews I've been seeing were making me reconsider. Seeing your review makes me think I'll go with my gut and try another book instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shaina - I probably should have followed my gut,too. The premise didn't do much for me, but the glowing reviews pulled me in.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails