Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now In Paperback. STATE OF WONDER: A NOVEL by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett is now in paperback: a tale of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonian jungle—it is both a gripping adventure and a profound look at the difficult choices made in the name of discovery and love.

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy:  not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss.

Praise for State of Wonder:

“An engaging, consummately told tale.”—New York Times

“Emotionally lucid. . . . Patchett is at her lyrical best when she catalogues the jungle.”— The New Yorker

“Is there nothing the prodigiously talented Ann Patchett can’t do?. . . . Patchett’s last knockout pages proceed full-speed ahead, with more twists and turns and treachery than the Amazon River. Nothing is as it seems, and the ending is as shocking as it’s satisfying. . . . [State of Wonder is] extraordinary.”—Boston Globe

“The Amazon setting is something Patchett does rather marvelously. . . . The book is serious, but also so pleasurable that you hope it won't end.”—NPR

“Her best novel. . . . These pages have a pulsing, seductive rhythm. . . . The wonder of State of Wonder is that Patchett poses essential philosophical and bioethical arguments in a story that still speeds along like a literary thriller, reaching a tremendous, deeply emotional crescendo. Bella scrittura.”—Time magazine

1 comment:

  1. I found "State of Wonder" to be a real page-turner with plenty of surprises right up to the end to shake my assumptions (I like that). In the end Patchett left a little "maybe" about Marina's future that each reader can extrapolate as he or she wishes. I could describe this book as a combination of all that is great about stories such as "The Mosquito Coast", "The African Queen", "The Heart of Darkness" and any good old fashioned Tarzan movie.