Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book #99: State of Wonder

State of WonderTitle: State of Wonder
Author: Ann Patchett
Enjoyment Rating: 10/10 (!)
Referral: Where haven't I heard about this book? I'm also a longtime Patchett fan. After this, I'd read her grocery lists if she published them.

I wish I had taken the time to write about State of Wonder as soon as I finished listening to it. It's now been several weeks, and I know I'm not going to be able to do the book justice. State of Wonder is an absolutely phenomenal book.

It's rare for me to get sucked into an audiobook in the first few minutes, but with State of Wonder, I kept listening after my runs ended, and found myself doing housework just so I could keep listening (State of Wonder got me through an obsessive organizing binge a few weeks ago). The book tells the story of Marina Singh, who travels to the Amazon to find out what happened after a colleague from her pharmaceutical company dies in the company Marina's former medical school mentor, the bizarre and elusive Dr. Anneck Swenson. The book follows Marina's journey from the wilds of St. Paul, MN to the wilds of the Amazon.

The book is beautifully written. Patchett does a fantastic job getting into Singh's head. I feel like I know her-- her anxiety, her wishes, even her dreams. Singh is someone who seems a little bit unknowable to those around her, so it's interesting for a reader to know so much about Marina. My only criticism (and this isn't really a criticism) is that at first, the end seemed a little abrupt (did she get pregnant? didn't she?), but after thinking about it for a little while, I think Patchett did exactly the right thing-- the experience in Brazil was done, and whatever came after would be a new story-- no need to wrap up all the loose ends neatly. 


Miss Sarah in Georgia said...

I'm so glad to hear good things about this! It's on my to read list (I'm just to cheap to pay full price for hardback ...). Have you read anything else by Ann Patchett? How does this compare? (I loved, loved Run and Bel Canto.)

Shelah said...

I've read both Run and Bel Canto. I liked both a lot, but I think State of Wonder is even better.

Blue said...

i just finished listening to it (started it yesterday when you picked up my kids). I was glad to have a way to pass the time while my body ached and throbbed it's way through this illness. I would have liked a little more of a wrap up at the end, but from a literary perspective she probably did it just right.