Author: Ann Patchett
Title: State of Wonder
Description: Dr. Marina Singh gave up her promising surgical career for a career in pharmacology. When her office-mate dies on a fact-finding trip to the Amazon, Marina is asked to trace his footsteps to determine what really happened. The trip means that Marina must confront her medical school nemesis, Dr. Swenson, who is the head of the research team in Brazil. She also confronts her fears and her feelings about her life thus far.
Review source: This book was chosen by our book group (although it was already on my to-read list).
Plot: There’s a lot going on here (much of which I didn’t mention in order to avoid ruining any surprises). What is the source of the Brazilian tribe’s abundant fertility? What happened to Anders Eckman, Marina’s colleague? Who is Easter, the deaf and mute boy who helps the research team? What is Dr. Swenson hiding? What does Marina want to do with the rest of her life?
Characters: The characters are well-drawn, though at times unknowable. I found myself getting frustrated with Marina, though in her passivity, she was being true to who she was. Dr. Swenson is at once heroic and supremely aggravating. Even the minor characters are lively and fleshed-out.
Writing style: I think State of Wonder is actually the description of anyone reading this book. Can’t figure out why else she would title it that. In other words, Patchett’s prose style always blows me away.
Audience: This is literary fiction, but the type that would turn anyone who hates literary fiction into a convert.
Wrap-up: Sorry, writing reviews of books that blow me out of the water makes me feel so helpless to grab the words. Ann Patchett is one of the gifts in my life. Reading her books makes me supremely happy. Finishing them bums me out. 5/5*