State of Wonder

State of Wonder

Book Club Kit - 2011
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"Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett's fiction."--New York Times Book Review

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett returns with a provocative and assured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotional urgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician's Assistant, and The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers an enthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder--a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.

Publisher: New York : Harper, c2011.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062049810
006204981X
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB STATE OF
Characteristics: 12 books (353 pages), 1 discussion guide, 1 bag.

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LPL_SarahM Jan 14, 2021

I am such a fan of Ann Patchett's writing. Every book I've read of hers has immediately transported me to the world of the characters. This one was another gorgeous read. Set mostly in the jungle of the Amazon, I was enthralled from beginning to end.

Brazil


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LPL_SarahM Jan 14, 2021

I am such a fan of Ann Patchett's writing. Every book I've read of hers has immediately transported me to the world of the characters. This one was another gorgeous read. Set mostly in the jungle of the Amazon, I was enthralled from beginning to end.

j
joe_strnad
Dec 11, 2020

Amazing - five stars! Ann Patchett kicks butt! What else can I say?
Such a fun read - she hooks you in quick - Marina must travel to Brazil to discover the fate of her friend and coworker. Once there she's thrown into developing-world port-city life: markets, crowds, tropical heat. Finally, about halfway thru the story we begin the trip up the Amazon, this is where things get really good. Something was in my eye causing it to water as I finished the last two pages - simply beautiful.

Things I like about Patchett's writing: she gets to action immoderately, dispense with the exposition and get down to business (you better keep up.) Complex, well-rounded characters, she pieces out their backgrounds modestly and only when necessary - you don't get their whole life story, just some juicy bits. Dialogue always feel true to the nature of the characters that she has created. I cannot explain how she does this better than most writers, she just does. Read this book if you want a fun, smart, modern-day adventure novel.

b
BookLover4fun
Dec 04, 2020

Patchett has written an entertaining romp through the Amazon where a pharmaceutical company is researching a fertility drug. Lakashi women do not ever achieve menopause, even when they reach their 70’s, and continue to have children to the bitter end. Horrors!!! The science end of the story line is weak and undeveloped (unlike R. Powers), but if you overlook a few things, suspend disbelief, and fall into the story you won’t be disappointed. Overall this is a fun book and a good read.

k
kjjranch
Oct 17, 2020

I really enjoyed the story and how it unfolded a little at a time, just as the jungle revealed itself. I felt like I was there with them.

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 20, 2019

It probably would have gotten five stars except for some disappointment at the ending. I've read two other Patchett novels - Bel Canto and The Magician's Assistant - and I loved Bel and didn't like Magician's. So, this was the tiebreaker for me and I very much enjoyed it. Not unlike Bel this was about an ordinary person (she was from Eden Prairie, MN!) in extraordinary circumstances. Marina Singh is a research pharmacologist who is sent by her firm to the Amazon after a colleague dies there when he is checking up on a scientist doing research who has been out of communication for a long period of time. I really don't want to give anymore details because a great deal of the pleasure in reading this novel is having events unfold in front of you while you're in a - well, um - state of wonder. Like Bel, Patchett has written another novel that is both wonderfully and compellingly plotted and peopled, and also an invitation to ruminate on deep issues of ethics, sacrifice, loyalty, etc. I wasn't wild about the ending, which felt more like a stop than a conclusion, but otherwise a wonderful book.

JessicaGma Jul 05, 2019

I do enjoy reads about mad scientists and this was an interesting one. Maria Swensen is perhaps not so much mad as driven to the point of excluding everything else. Marina Singh is a pale character in comparison, sort of dull and only reacting to everything else that is going on instead of actually doing something. It was different.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 06, 2018

OK, I realize I'm completely out of step with almost everyone who has praised this book. I beg to differ; call be an uptight, moralistic snob if you will, but I found both the premise and several of the prime characters objectionable. And that spoiled the whole story for me.
1. Surely the last thing our planet needs is to enable women to continue producing more children throughout their lives! The drug company pretends to aim at helping childless couples conceive but let's be honest: They plan to make piles of money by enabling well-heeled urbanites to bear children after they've had a lucrative career.
2. Are we to believe that a big drug company would provide unlimited funding to a scientist hiding in the Amazon basin without knowing what was up? Real life scenario: Three guys with thick shoulders are dispatched the first time our letters and phone calls are not answered; and funding disappears very quickly. No, Mr. Fox has to know exactly what's going on.
3. How about "Mr. Fox" (notice he's always "Mr.") sending two of his valuable scientists off on a dangerous, poorly defined mission -- including sending his supposed lover after the first doctor has apparently died under unknown circumstances? He's a boss we would all love to have!
4. And of course there's Swenson, a "mad scientist" hell-bent on personal glory and the well-being of everyone else be damned! The agony of Ekman's wife, left with three small children and no answers is of no concern to her whatsoever.
5. And of course there are the two freeloaders the Bovenders living a life of luxury, no questions asked, all bills paid, acting as Swenson's gatekeepers. They haven't even the decency to allow Ekman's letters to and from his wife to reach their addressee.
These are despicable people I don't care to read about.
Two stars for the quality of the prose. I began skimming after 140 pages, finally abandoned it in distaste after 300.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 30, 2018

Since medical school Dr. Marina Singh has lived her life doing pharmaceutical research for a corporation in Minnesota. When her dear friend and colleague, Anders Eckman, dies in the Amazon trying to bring a research project to a close Marina travels to Brazil to bring his body home. Ann Patchett describes both Minnesota and Brazil in pitch perfect tones. She brings mystery, suspense, and surprise to the page in beautiful prose that keeps the reader awake at night far past the reader's bedtime. — Maureen M.S., Edina Library

JCLMelodyMK Mar 24, 2017

This book is set mainly deep in the Amazon jungle. Scientists are studying a native village in Brazil. One of the scientists, Dr. Anneck Swen-son, recently arriving at the village goes missing and then said to be dead. Dr. Marina Singh is sent to track down just what happened to her coworker Anneck. As I moved farther into the story the more engaged and curious I became. A captivating read that takes you to an Amazon jungle. Another great read from Ann Patchett, truly an interesting read that made me think back to how many medicines are developed from rain forests, they don’t start out as pills and liquids.

jr3083 Mar 21, 2017

See my review at:

https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/state-of-wonder-by-ann-patchett/

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Oct 10, 2012

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Michael Colford Mar 02, 2011

Patchett takes us from Boston to the deepest hidden realms of the Amazon in this layered, haunting tale of biomedical exploration and the search for ourselves. Outstanding writing is Patchett's hallmark in this intricately layered novel. Deep, complex strands of narrative all come together beautifully and characters, both main and incidental are fully explored and brought to life. This is a masterful work.

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