Is it even possible to be mildly euphoric? I think that is an oxymoron. Nevermind. Euphoria by Lily King was Jane’s selection for Pocket Book Club’s chilly July meeting and we were pretty happy with it.
The book raised a discussion (thanks to Marianne) about what is truth and what is fiction. Euphoria is based very loosely on the life of Margaret Mead – though clearly, Nell is not Margaret. But they have things in common – being anthropologists with similar academic beginnings and passions, a dead baby sister. Perhaps I can also say complicated love lives. It annoys me a great deal when a woman with many accomplishments in life are reduced to her love life (Miss Potter and Becoming Jane for instance). At the heart of Euphoria though is a subtly told love triangle. The things Lily King does not say and the things she hints at are more powerful for their fleeting moments.
So, we spent some time comparing the life of Margaret and the life of Nell. We agreed that while the fiction and fact can be tangled, we did not trust a biography as a whole truth anyhow.
We were also intrigued by the humid bug infested life lead by the characters. We do not want that life. We cannot imagine how they stood it.
What we ate: Jane’s Mandarin Cake (delightfully moist) and Cheese and Horseradish dip (moreish)
I vote for a July book club by the fire every year.
The next book is Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead