Sunday, February 12, 2012

The State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

cover image from LibraryThing
Let me tell you things come together in unexpected ways sometimes.  This is one of the books that I downloaded onto my Nook to read on our Mexican vacation.  What a great beach read it was!

This is the story of an unexpected journeys
       - from the cold of Minnesota to the wilds of Brazil
       - from the known sterile world of a pharmaceutical lab to the completely unpredictable world of 70 year old pregnant Brazilian women who gnaw on trees.
       -from the ordered life of Marina Singh failed gynecologist and clandestine lover of the company CEO to Dr. Annick Swenson the Amazonian queen of research

So - as I sat on the beach on my own journey I read about Marina and Dr. Swenson.  Marina, afraid of rocking the boat in so many ways and Swenson who not only will drive the boat, she will command anyone who touches the boat and perhaps burn them at the stake if they cause any problems. There could not be two more dissimilar characters.
As the paths of these two women intertwine - both in Marina's schooling and later at the research facility and finally in Brazil they take on one another's qualities...much to their dismay.

The story begins with a letter from Brazil announcing the death of Marina's research partner who has gone to Brazil to find out why it is taking Dr. Swenson so long to create a fertility drug from a tribe of women who still bear children in their 70s.   Marina is charged to go to Brazil to find Anders body and return it to his wife as well as check on the research.

As you would expect things don't go as they are expected to...there are cannibals, a hippie couple who hold unexpected information, a deaf child named Easter, and a jungle so full of insects that...well it gave me the creeps.

As Marina makes her way to the tribe - she is greeted with natives holding torches in the so happened that I read that part the day that we took an hour boat ride to a darkened island where the torches on the beach welcomed us...there were no critters, but it was an interesting moment.

I enjoyed the way this story spun itself slowly out.  There were so many hidden treasures and half truths that worked their way into the tale.  This was a good one.

1 comment:

Danmark said...

This is a very interesting novel though at times I felt burdened by the prose. Things get repeated several times as though the reader does not remember information the first time. For instance, the relationship between Marina and Annick Swenson is told and retold over and over from the same and different vantage points. This is true of other relationships as well. For this reason, and the lack of credibility in the relationships.