The novella is composed mainly of transcripts between Antonia and her psychiatrist, with letters and court scripts in between. This made the story much more intimate and personal; there were moments you feel like you’re reading someone’s diary. As a result, there is a connection to Antonia as we witness the changes throughout her life. The layout is very engaging and dynamic, and certainly a great choice for diving into someone’s interior life.
Antonia’s story by itself is admirable. She abandons the comfort and safety of a good job and loving family to embark on a spiritual journey and discover herself. Reading how she has grown as a person through these experiences, how her outlook on life has changed, was quite remarkable. Yet she also doesn’t shy away from the heartbreak of divorce and the difficulties that come with that.
Yet, ultimately, Euphoria didn’t work for me, and the key reason for that is its length. At 70 pages it is too short, and a lot of things are missing from the narrative. A key one is the reasons why she is being admitted to the psychiatric hospital. The reader is told them briefly in the court transcripts but there’s no exploration into them. For example, Antonia wishes to visit a Syriac Orthodox Church near Mardin, Turkey. Her husband, however, insists that she wants to buy a monastery in Syria. But why? Why does he believe she wishes to buy a monastery instead of merely visiting one? Why does he insist Syria when the one Antonia mentions (and visits) is in Turkey? These questions are never answered; admittedly, her husband is not the focus of the piece, but he never expands upon his reasoning in court or letters. The lack of information makes the whole novella a bit baffling.
Euphoria is not a bad book. The layout is great and works wonderfully for the plot, plus Antonia is an engaging narrator. It just needs more information added. The idea of a husband forcibly admitting his wife to a hospital because she has an increased interest in sex, dances late at night, and wants to visit a monastery is odd. Something feels missing for the reader to truly understand the novella and Antonia’s plight. Euphoria has a lot of promise, but never quite hits the mark.
Lou has been blogging on Random Book Reviews Web for nearly 3 years, reviewing a mixture of books from historical fiction to romance to non-fiction. When not reading she can be found at her local cinema, theatre or in her kitchen attempting to bake.