Years ago, Marina Singh traded the hard decisions and intensity of medical practice for the quieter world of research at a pharmaceutical company, a choice that has haunted her life. Enveloping herself in safety, limiting emotional risk, she shares a quiet intimacy with her widowed older boss, Mr. Fox, and a warm friendship with her colleague Anders Eckman. But Marina's security is shaken when she learns that Anders, sent to the Amazon to check on a field team, is dead - and Mr. Fox wants her to go into the jungle to discover what happened.
Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the unknown, down into the Amazonian delta, deep into the dense, insect-infested jungle, to find answers from the company's research team. Led by the formidable Dr. Annick Swenson, the scientists are looking into the development of a new drug that could have a profound impact on Western society. But the team has been silent for two years, and Dr. Swenson does not like interlopers inserting themselves into her work, as Marina well knows. The eminent and fiercely uncompromising doctor was once her mentor, the woman she admired, emulated, and feared. To fulfill her mission, Marina must confront the ghosts of her past, as well as unfulfilled dreams and expectations - on a journey that will force her to make painful moral choices and take her to the depths of her own heart of darkness.
Finally! I now know what all the fuss is about when it comes to Ann Patchett. She is an excellent writer! Her way with words is amazing - she can weave a story and transport you to a different place with such ease, that you truly feel as if you are trekking through the Amazon jungle. And, she creates characters that leave you gasping in exasperation or cringing in disgust - characters that are real and flawed. In fact, take note of the title, State of Wonder, because that is how you are left feeling when you finish the book. I was left in a state of wonder, for two reasons: I was awed by Patchett's writing (I need to read Bel Canto and Run ASAP!) and confused by the bad ending she wrote for this otherwise terrific book. Weird, eh? To enjoy a book with such a bad ending. Well, I guess I'm weird.
Now, I'm not really going to discuss the book at length, because I do believe you should experience it for yourself and become immersed in this world that is dark, filled with secrets, and teeming with life. All you really need to know is that it is a gripping read about a woman named Marina who has gone to the Amazon jungle in search of information regarding the death of her dear friend and colleague, Anders Eckman. Through this journey Marina is forced to confront her past and present fears that have held her back literally and figuratively. We are able to see the transformation Marina undergoes and find ourselves rooting for her to succeed. Unfortunately, the ending comes along and pretty much mucks everything up. Nothing makes any sense with the characters or story - its as if Patchett grew tired of the story and just wanted it to end. Regardless of the disappointing ending, I was still thinking about Marina and the Amazon jungle for days afterward. And I always think that when a book haunts you for days afterward, its a sign of how good the book was. So, Patchett's was definitely a good book.
I would recommend this one to anyone and everyone interested in a good characer driven story set in the Amazon jungle. You will be amazed with the story and wonder why you've never read any of Patchett's works before now. Or at least, that's how I felt. So, enjoy!! Happy Reading!!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book.