Wow! State of Wonder certainly lived up to its name! I loved Patchett’s Bel Canto but I’m enamored with this more recent work of hers. She truly is a master at not only characters and story but of beautiful, crystallized sentences that are near perfection. When reading, I kept pausing to think that there was no better way to say what she just said. This is why I love fiction. Or rather, amazing writing.
The main character, Marina, is from Minnesota (my home state!) but she gets sent to the jungles of the Amazon on a fact-finding mission. Her company funds drug research there but the doctor on the ground won’t keep them posted on progress and Marina’s co-worker Anders died on the same mission. Reluctant, she goes to report back information–armed with a satellite phone–and also to learn more about Anders’ death for his wife-turned-widow.
Not only is this a great book for cold winter months, the story unfolds with such pacing that it is hard to set the novel down for much time. The vivid descriptions and compelling details that unfold keep the reader enthralled. Yet, to enjoy, well to savor each of her sentences, I read at a leisurely rate though it was tempting to jump ahead at parts as it gets going. From the beginning I was hooked, despite reading difficult pages of the grief that the MN characters go through for Anders. But even those passages are gorgeous, as is Patchett’s track-record with me.
Recommended?: Absolutely! Perhaps more so for women than men just because the novel revolves around a fertility drug and women’s health is the main topic. That’s not to say a man couldn’t enjoy the book but some might not be interested in it; they would enjoy Bel Canto more since it is about a hostage-taking situation at a dinner party.