the next good book


By Lily King


253 pages

What’s it about? This book is set in New Guinea in the 1930’s and follows three anthropologists in the field.  The characters are loosely based on the lives of Margaret Mead (Nell), Gregory Bateson (Bankson) and Reo Fortune (Fen). The demise of a marriage and the beginning of a budding romance are set in a fascinating time and place.   I see this novel as part historical fiction and part romance novel (maybe relationship driven as romance novel sounds so un-literary and the writing is good).
What did I learn? The history in the novel is fascinating.  I knew very little about Anthropology and how it evolved into what we think of it as today.    When I was finished with the book I immediately wanted to know more about Margaret Mead.   Perhaps just what Lily King intended….
Should I read it? It is a quick read and very well written.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or has an interest in Anthropology.
Quote- “It’s a delusion — you’ve only been there eight weeks — and it’s followed by the complete despair of ever understanding anything. But at that moment the place feels entirely yours. It’s the briefest, purest euphoria.”

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