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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Visible Empire
Hannah Pittard
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Robertson Davies
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Euphoria - Lily King

Once you've read one fictional account of an anthropological study, you've read them all. Maybe that isn't really true, but I had a hard time shaking Hanya Yanagihara's The People in the Trees as I read Lily King's Euphoria. The setting and style are similar. One thousand miles of open ocean separate the tribes in the two books. Missing from Euphoria were the magical elements that made  The People in the Trees so utterly fascinating; in its place was a realism that made the story much more believable.


I know that one day I likely won't be able to separate these books from one another—that my memory of them will be one. Already I find it a struggle. That being said, both books are very strong, and while Euphoria may not stand out to me in the same way The People in the Trees did, this is not a horrible critique.  Euphoria is full of voice and setting, and it is these two elements that carry the novel. I wish I could say more—a book review that spends more time mentioning another book is not a review—but saying as much as I have has been a struggle. If you like anthropology, philosophy, or psychology, or just about any fictionalized tale of science, I recommend giving this one a try.