State of Wonder is very different from Bel Canto, the only other Ann Patchett novel I have read, but in some ways it is also very similar. It has the same subtle but hypnotic prose that draws you in. Every word written with purpose, every nuance of character important to the story. It was so hard to put down and so hard to stop thinking about when I did.
When I started reading I immediately started drawing parallels to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Dr. Marina Singh is sent to the deep jungles of Brazil to try and find her former teacher, Dr. Annika Swenson, who has stopped communicating with the pharmaceutical company that is funding her research for a new fertility drug. She has ensconced herself in the village of the Lakashi, she rarely leaves and no one knows if any progress is being made. I kept expecting Marina to go down the river to Dr. Swenson's hidden lab in the jungle and find a Kurtz like character.
It wasn't quite that dark of an adventure into the jungle once Marina gets on the boat, but Dr. Swenson is definitely a different person from spending years away from civilization, immersed in her work in the jungle. You learn more and more about her and the others as you delve deeper into the jungle and into the story.
I absolutely enjoyed reading State of Wonder. There is a bit of everything I like in my books- adventures in a foreign country, medical/science questions and ethics and a slightly mysterious death.
Source: pubisher for review
State of Wonder was released on June 7th in Hardback.
For more information about the book and author visit Ann Patchett's website.
For other reviews, here is the list of others who participated in the book tour.
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