State Of Wonder, Hardback book

State Of Wonder [Hardback]

by Ann Patchett

4.03 out of 5 (86 ratings)

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 
Publication Date:
06 June 2011 
Modern & Contemporary 


SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2012 There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by the pleas of Anders's wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend's steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr. Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest. What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.

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  • I felt as though I was right there, dripping with sweat right along with everyone in the Amazon. Having read Bel Canto and Run, this one is THE best! I could hardly put it down, page after page. What an incredible "story"----I need to read some reviews to see where, on earth, Patchett came up with this idea. It was a wonderful reading experience.

    5.00 out of 5


  • Ann Patchett has done it again. State of Wonder is written with the beautiful, descriptive style that I fell in love with in Bel Canto. Her story is that of Marina, a medical doctor turned pharmacologist working in the safety of a lab until she gets pushed into the heart of the Brazilian jungle. She is sent to find out the details of her lab partner's death while finishing his work of uncovering the truth about the progress of an expedition that has been sent to develop a new drug. Progress that the scientists have been unwilling to share with the drug company funding their research. While there, she has the opportunity to work with her awe-inspiring former professor who forces her to refresh her rusty skills as an MD/obstetrician. Through the course of the story, Marina is absolved of half a lifetime of guilt, while finding the truth about both her partner's death and the real purpose for the scientists' secrecy. Interwoven with the tension, is the relative peacefulness of tribal life with the Lakashi people, the terrifying dangers of jungle life that only come out when they are least expected, and the lingering pain and longing over lost fathers. And with every bend of the river or turn of the path, Patchett gently prods us to consider the consequences of our "civilized" desires and actions. I am very stingy with my 5 star ratings, but this book meets all my qualifications: it is well-written, it has vivid descriptions that help me see through the eyes of the main character, and it takes me through a wide range of emotions. It does not have gratuitous sex scenes, ridiculously unrealistic romances, or unnecessary vulgar language. It is, simply, one of those books that is a pleasure to read, leaving you in the peculiar position of feeling satisfied while still wishing there was more.

    5.00 out of 5


  • this book grabbed my attention and held it tightly from go to whoa. loved the amazonian twists and turns, the humanity and the brilliance of the writing ... give me more!

    5.00 out of 5


  • This book made the top ten fiction list for 2011 in numerous book review publications, and it was well-deserved. The book takes place in Minnesota and the Amazon rain forest. Dr. Marina Singh is sent by her employer, Vogel Pharmaceuticals, to discover the circumstances of her co-worker's death. Dr. Anders Eckmann had been sent earlier to check on Vogel's researcher Dr. Annake Swenson, who was out-of-touch and behind schedule. What follows are twists and turns of plot that are as numerous as the the turns of the Amazon itself. Well, maybe not quite that numerous but almost! It's a delightful book that many have compared with Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I would say it's a much happier book than that one, however. It does give the reader a definite feel for how life goes in the rain forest. Patchett is to be commended for a literary accomplishment.

    5.00 out of 5


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