State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off into the Amazon jungle to find the remains and effects of a colleague who recently died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. But first she must locate Dr. Anneck Swenson, a renowned gynecologist who has spent years looking at the reproductive habits of a local tribe where women can conceive well into their middle ages and beyond. Eccentric and notoriously tough, Swenson is paid to find the key to this longstanding childbearing ability by the same company for which Dr. Singh works. Yet that isn’t their only connection: both have an overlapping professional past that Dr. Singh has long tried to forget. In finding her former mentor, Dr. Singh must face her own disappointments and regrets, along with the jungle’s unforgiving humidity and insects, making State of Wonder a multi-layered atmospheric novel that is hard to put down. Indeed, Patchett solidifies her well-deserved place as one of today’s master storytellers. Emotional, vivid, and a work of literature that will surely resonate with readers in the weeks and months to come, State of Wonder truly is a thing of beauty and mystery, much like the Amazon jungle itself. --Jessica Schein - Amazon.
My Thoughts: I listened to State of Wonder and thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the Amazon on my way to work everyday. The story of Marina's trip to the Amazon was both beautiful and scary. The reader takes the trip with Marina to Brazil in search and her friend and colleague, the reader feels the heat, the insects, the fear, and beauty of the Amazon as if one were actually in the Amazonian jungle. This part of the world is without cell phones and virtually no outside communications, limited communication with the local peoples, and unknown and unimagined situations around every corner.
I enjoyed the book for many reasons including the vision of a basically unknown part of our world and the dynamics among the doctors, scientists, and the locals but mostly for the well-told story of Marina and her personal quest and strength.