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Review: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Posted by bethg on

State of Wonder book coverIf it’s been a while since you’ve read a thrilling adventure story with more twists and turns than the tributaries of the Amazon River, you must read State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

Dr. Marina Singh did not start out to be Survivorwoman in the Amazon Rainforest; it just worked out that way. As a research scientist, she was used to being in a lab environment, but her boss sent her to Brazil to check up on Dr. Annick Swenson. Swenson had been several years deep in the rainforest with her team working on new fertility drugs and/or a malaria vaccine. She was not communicating, and her employers were desperate to hear of her progress.

As an aside, I think it appropriate to mention that Patchett is also the author of the acclaimed Bel Canto so her writing skills should come as no surprise. The following is an example of the kind of writing one can expect from Patchett. When Marina landed in the rainforest, “…every insect in the Amazon lifted its head from the leaf it was masticating and turned a slender antenna in her direction. She was a snack plate, a buffet line…”

With that as an example, one can only imagine the vivid descriptions to come of the Lakashi tribe, a fight with an anaconda, poison arrows shot her way, and a confrontation with cannibals.

In addition there is a personal story line with history going back to Marina’s days as an intern at Johns Hopkins where she was mentored by Dr. Swenson. There was a portion of the book that I thought lagged where Marina was kept waiting in the port of Manaus. It felt like so much treading of fetid water, but the action began in earnest when Marina finally ventured deep into the jungle and her long-awaited rendezvous with Dr. Swenson.

Be sure to join in the adventure; you’ll love State of Wonder.

I give the book 4 mosquito bites.

Happy reading from Beverly!

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