Sample text for Euphoria : a novel / Lily King.


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If the Tam weren’t a good fit, they would go to Australia. This was my last chance to get it right. And I could tell she was skeptical. But Teket had been many times to the Tam to visit his cousin there, and even if everything he told me about the culture and the beauty of the area were half true, it should satisfy this pair of choosy anthropologists. ‘I should have brought you here straightaway.’ I said, not entirely meaning to say it aloud. ‘It was selfish of me.’
She smiled, and told Fen not to kill us before we got there.
After several hours I saw the tributary we needed to take. Fen turned us toward it, letting in a little water on the port side. The tributary was a narrow ribbon of yellowish brown water. The sun disappeared and the air was cool on our faces.
‘Water’s low,’ Fen said.
‘You’re all right,’ I said, scanning for glimpses of the bottom.
The rains hadn’t come yet. The banks here rose high, walls of mud and coiling white roots. I watched carefully for the break Teket had told me about. He’d said it was soon after the turn. In a motorized boat it would come fast.
‘Here,’ I pointed right.
‘Here? Where?’
‘Right here.’ We were nearly past it.
The boat lurched, then slid into a tiny dark canal between what Teket called kopi, bushes that looked like freshwater mangroves.
‘You cannot be serious, Bankson,’ Fen said.
‘They’re fens, aren’t they?’ Nell said. ‘Fen among the fens.’
‘This is a fen? Jesus, help us,’ he said. The passage was wide enough for only one canoe. Branches scraped our arms and because we’d slowed down, insects came at us in clouds. ‘You could get bloody lost in here.’
Teket had told me there was only one path through. ‘Just follow the water.’
‘Like I’m going to do anything else. Fuck, the bugs are thick.’
We motored through this close corridors a long time, their trust in me weakening by the minute. I wanted to tell them everything I’d heard about the Tam, but best to have them arrive discouraged and skeptical.
‘Sure you have enough petrol for this?’ Fen asked.
And just then the passage opened up.
The lake was enormous, at least twelve miles across, the water jet black and ringed by bright green hills. Fen pulled up on the throttle to idle and we swayed there for a moment. Across the water was a long beach, and, mirroring it in the water twenty yards offshore, a bright white sandbar. Or what I thought was a sandbar, until all at once it lifted, broke apart, and thinned into the air.
‘Osprey,’ I said. ‘White osprey.’
‘Oh my, Bankson,’ Nell said. ‘This is glorious.’



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Anthropologists -- New Guinea -- Fiction.
Nineteen thirties -- Fiction.
Married people -- Fiction.
Man-woman relationships -- Fiction.
Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- Fiction.
Anthropologists. -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst00810184
Man-woman relationships. -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst01007080
Married people. -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst01010656
Nineteen thirties. -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst01037830
Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst01156439
New Guinea. -- fast -- (OCoLC)fst01241921
Roman. -- gnd -- (DE-588)4050479-7
Amerikanisches Englisch. -- gnd -- (DE-588)4094804-3