Anthropologists in love


In Lily King's Euphoria (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25), married anthropologists Nell and Fen are working in Papua New Guinea, and their marriage is in trouble. Along comes emotionally tortured British anthropologist Bankson—and both Nell and her husband are interested in him, in all sorts of ways. In addition to being a rather thinly veiled fictionalization of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead's segue from first to second husband after her 1928 publication of Coming of Age in Samoa, Euphoria also takes a close look at what the practice of anthropology (and the careers of anthropologists) do to the cultures under study. This engrossing novel, King's fourth, illuminates the best and worst of love among intellectual giants, while never allowing us to forget the consequences of intellectual ambition.