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State of Wonder: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, Jun 7 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (June 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062049801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062049803
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #191,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“An engaging, consummately told tale.” (New York Times)

“Emotionally lucid. . . . Patchett is at her lyrical best when she catalogues the jungle.” (The New Yorker)

“This is surely the smartest, most exciting novel of the summer.” (Washington Post)

“The Amazon setting is something Patchett does rather marvelously.… The book is serious, but also so pleasurable that you hope it won’t end.” (NPR)

“Outlandishly entertaining…[with] a brilliantly constructed plot.” (Elle)

“Packs a textbook’s worth of ethical conundrums into a smart and tidily delivered story. . . . Ms. Patchett presents an alluring interplay between civilization and wilderness, between aid and exploitation.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The large canvas of sweeping moral issues, both personal and global, comes to life through careful attention to details, however seemingly mundane—from ill-fitting shoes and mosquito bites to a woman tenderly braiding another woman’s hair.” (O, the Oprah Magazine)

“A spellbinder from bestselling author Patchett. . . . Thrilling, disturbing and moving in equal measures—even better than Patchett’s breakthrough Bel Canto.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“A superbly rendered novel. . . . Patchett’s portrayal is as wonderful as it is frightening and foreign. Patchett exhibits an extraordinary ability to bring the horrors and the wonders of the Amazon jungle to life, and her singular characters are wonderfully drawn. . . . Powerful and captivating.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“A thrilling new novel. . . . The world imagined in this novel is unusually vivid. . . . Reading State of Wonder is a sensory experience, and even after it’s over you’ll keep hearing the sounds of insects, and your own head will still be hot.” (No Source)

“A thrilling new novel. . . . The world imagined in this novel is unusually vivid. . . . Reading State of Wonder is a sensory experience, and even after it’s over you’ll keep hearing the sounds of insects, and your own head will still be hot.” (MORE Magazine)

“Patchett makes the jungle jump off the page…This is Patchett’s best effort since The Patron Saint of Liars and, yes, that includes Bel Canto” (Shelf Awareness)

“Extraordinary. . . . Is there nothing the prodigiously talented Ann Patchett can’t do? . . . Patchett’s last knockout pages proceed full-speed ahead, with more twists and turns and trachery than the Amazon River. Nothing is as it seems, and the ending is as shocking as it’s satisfying.” (Boston Globe)

From the Back Cover

Ann Patchett has dazzled readers with her award-winning books, including The Magician's Assistant and the New York Times bestselling Bel Canto. Now she raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle.

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By anon TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 29 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ann Patchett is a gifted writer who's always interesting (for me) to read. Here her descriptions of American scientists and the Amazon jungle are wonderful. This book doesn't quite work, IMO. There are long draggy parts and I found myself skipping pages. Patchett's plot has a Heart of Darkness quality to it, though here it's more Heart of Primal Innocence Meets Self-Deluded North Americans. I finished reading this only because it was a book club requirement.
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Format: Paperback
This book makes reference to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." According to Joseph Conrad, there are three levels of darkness: [1] the darkness of Congo Wilderness [2] the darkness of the Belgiums' cruel treatment of the African natives [3] the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.

I would recommend that the reader think about how the above three points relate to the book "State of Wonder."

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State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was a good book. It was fun to read. The words, sentences and paragraphs were well-constructed. The whole book seemed to flow like an Amazon river that at times I would lose track of the plot. I enjoyed the sense of adventure in the story and I enjoyed Marina's character. I don't think she was overly ambitious, nor do I think she had a purpose in her life. Like the early years of Buster Keaton, I believe Marina's character embraced life rather then trying to control it. I believe the book to be mostly about Marina's character however there is no doubt that Ann Patchett did touch on some very modern 2011 issues.

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Format: Paperback
(...)I was disappointed by the beginning, all the books teaching you how to write mention how important the beginning is, how it can hang a novel or be the key to its success. I tried twice: it couldn't be a boring dissertation about the dull life of a lab guy who died, I thought, how is that women's fiction?!
The book acquires substance in layers, you get hooked. The main character, Marina, is 42 years old, a bit of a misfit hiding away from her life in a pharmaceutical lab, having given up surgery over a hasty mistake, not getting over father's issues, which are not even clearly known to us... I also completely disagree with her sluttish attitude at the end, no matter how many excuses Ann fabricates in order to save the face of her main character.
The story is enticing though. And it surely looks like Marina would get over her lassitude, her cocooned environment, her ludicrous fears and would learn how to live, and more importantly, that she has to, clock is ticking and we all have a limited license on life.
Ann makes us travel to Brazil, to the Amazon jungle, the tribes(more details about the Lakashi, who she forces Marina to live with). The plot focuses on a discovery that is of groundbreaking importance to science, so Marina''s journey is full of symbols. The descriptions of characters and places, of attitudes and circumstances are incredibly well tackled, casually thrown in, although of high importance. (...)
To read the entire review go to allwords.ca.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it.
From start to finish the reader is emersed in the Amazon. This book is so vividly well written you feel like you are there with the characters every time you pick it up. You feel the bugs, the heat, and moisture of all the foilage that make up the forest. You "are" gently floating in a boat with your hand dipping in the water as you look around you at all things beautiful and unknown in a state of wonder.
The pharmaceutical company plot is very intriguing, and hooks you right from the start as you follow the characters from the city to the amazon.
Also weaved around and inside this main story; Ann Patchett flawlessly writes about her characters loves & loss, emotions and mistakes; and the lives lived in between. This is a beautifully written book that leaves you thinking for a while after. This is one of Ann Patchetts Best!!
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed Ann Patchett's new novel, "State of Wonder" . Having read 'Run' and not particularly enjoying it, I was pleasantly surprised .
One of the characters, A 'Dr Swenson', reminded me of a doctor here in my home town, and if they ever made a movie about this novel, I would be disappointed not to see a similar face portrayed !
The whole concept of 'conceiving' into our 70's makes me shudder - who would want to!!? But I found the 'Lakashi ' tribe to be quite believable - even their hardy welcoming !
I was a bit disappointed ( and sad ) at the end. Infidelity and abandonment - I won't say more ....
Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. It is unique read.
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Format: Paperback
Although I really enjoyed Bel Canto, this book definitely tops that one. I was drawn in right from the start, and now that I am finished it, I miss the characters, and find myself wondering how they adjusted to life in the real world after their return from the Amazon. I felt like I was living in Marina's skin and experienced life in the Amazon without actually having to suffer its discomforts. I thought the characters were well developed and I could practically see them. It was excellent storytelling in my opinion, and would recommend it highly, especially for those with a scientific/medical bend. Looking forward to her next novel.
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