“Expect miracleswhen you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.”—New YorkTimes Book Review
Award-winning, New York Times bestsellingauthor Ann Patchett returns with a provocative andassured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonrainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotionalurgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and ThePatron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers anenthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventurestory and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name ofdiscovery and love.
Patchett (Bel Canto) is a master storyteller who has an entertaining habit of dropping ordinary people into extraordinary and exotic circumstances to see what they're made of. In this expansive page-turner, Marina Singh, a big pharma researcher, is sent by her married boss/lover to the deepest, darkest corner of the Amazon to investigate the death of her colleague, Anders Eckman, who had been dispatched to check on the progress of the incommunicado Dr. Annick Swenson, a rogue scientist on the cusp of developing a fertility drug that could rock the medical profession (and reap enormous profits). After arriving in Manaus, Marina travels into her own heart of darkness, finding Dr. Swenson's camp among the Lakashi, a gentle but enigmatic tribe whose women go on bearing children until the end of their lives. As Marina settles in, she goes native, losing everything she had held on to so dearly in her prescribed Midwestern life, shedding clothing, technology, old loves, and modern medicine in order to find herself. Patchett's fluid prose dissolves in the suspense of this out-there adventure, a juggernaut of a trip to the crossroads of science, ethics, and commerce that readers will hate to see end.
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State of Wonder
Except for an annoying reliance on stereotypes of Minnesotans (Patchett is seemingly unaware of the diversity of culture and ethnicity in the Twin Cities, not to mention, we're also perfectly at home with the plentiful trees in our rather leafy urban and suburban landscapes...perhaps she confused Minnesota with South Dakota?), this was an engaging and entertaining read. The story compels the reader to think critically about our society's collective sense of entitlement when it comes to the business of fertility.
Beautifully crafted and enthrallingly captivating
Ms Padgett has managed to capture the awe; with the fear and marvel that encompasses of being in a totally foreign and compelling new environment. The title could not be more appropriate. She mixes just the right amount of medical fact and imagery with human kindness, frailty and the diversity present in real life. While not devoid of romance she handled it with controlled enthusiasm letting the tension and excitement of the drama move the tenderness forward. A thoroughly great read!
State of wonder
Absolutely beautiful book to get lost in!