State of Wonder

State of Wonder

by Ann Patchett

Arlene Almas (06/22/12): I'm just going to add my rave to Debbie's, Gail's, and Judy's reviews - this story is exciting and mysterious, and the writing is brilliantly descriptive. "State of Wonder" is definitely worth reading.
Rating: *****

Judy Stanton (01/27/12): As in Bel Canto, Ann Pathcett manages to develop interesting characters and put them in unusual circumstances that lead them into unexpected relationships with each other. State of Wonder involves a pharmaceutical company investing in research being conducted in the Amazon, so the mix includes savages with their own customs and language; scientists; a carefree couple with a wanderlust lifestyle; and businessmen. I found the second half to be much more compelling than the first, and was anxious to see how it turned out. The ending was good, yet I felt like there is still more to the story that remains untold....like what happens to the main character???? I liked the interesting issues raised in the book -- how does a civilized person in the jungle determine what is right to try to change and what is best to leave alone? When you have a chance to save someone's life but know it could very well take yours, what do you choose? If a drug can help women conceive much later in life, is it good for the woman's health and for society? Interesting!
Rating: ****

Gail Reid (08/23/11): Debbie has done a fine job of summarizing the plot lines of Ann Patchett's latest novel. I can easily agree "that things don't add up" and for this reason, the book is a compelling story that kept me involved to the very end

Patchett is at her best in conveying the oppressive humidity of the Amazon. The protagonist Dr. Marina Singh overwhelmed by the heat, the crowds, the insects and the cultural differences, longs to return to the Minnesota prairie and complete her mission. Sharp, insightful and determined, Singh not only finds out what happened to her colleague, she uncovers a mystery that hugely impacts her work in pharmaceutical research.

I don't think the writing is nearly as lyrical and timeless as Patchett's Bel Canto. However, the story is truly engaging and makes for a great read.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss: Marina Singh is a research doctor who works for a pharmaceutical firm in Minnesota. She and her lab partner, Anders Eckman, have worked for many years together on a cholesterol drug. They work well together and have become good friends.

Vogel is the pharmaceutical firm that Marina works for. The company is paying for research to take place in Brazil by a doctor named Annick Swenson. The company is getting impatient over the fact that Dr. Swenson's research is taking so long to complete and to provide a new drug for the marketplace. The company decides to send Anders to the Amazon to check on Dr. Swenson and to find out what the delay is. Then word comes that Enders has died of a fever in the jungle and his body will not be returned to the U.S. for burial. Now it is Marina's turn to travel to the Amazon to find the elusive Dr. Swenson and to get additional details of how Anders died. Things just don't add up.

This is a beautifully written story which captured my interest from the first page. There are many twists and turns, but you don't find answers until the very end. I highly recommend this book.
Rating: *****

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