TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour. Here is a description of State of Wonder from the Harper Collins website:
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.
You may think that I am corny, but I have to start this review by saying that Patchett left me in a "state of wonder" after reading this amazing novel. It obviously takes an artistically creative mind to create a novel of this magnitude, so Kudos to you Ann Patchett!
Marina is our main character in this novel who works as a pharmacologist in Minnesota. She is a single woman in her forties and seems to be unsettled about the path that her life has taken. When one of her co-workers is sent to the Amazon jungle, but doesn't return because of his presumed death, the company decides to send Marina to Brazil not only to find out how Anders died, but also to get an update on the research the doctors are doing for the company.
Little does Marina know that her trip to the Amazon will be a way for her to confront the demons of her past. She can't help but wonder if she can revisit her past and try to strive for the goals that she had originally set. As Marina confronts her fears she realizes this life has much more to offer to her.
Marina adapts quickly to life in the bug-infested Amazon. Friendships are made quickly with other doctors performing their own research, but she becomes especially attached to a young native boy who happens to be deaf. She allows Easter to be her guide, but it turns out that he needs her just as much as she needs him. While staying with the tribe, Marina is amazed at the additional research that is being done at the expense of the company he works for.
Patchett takes us deep into the Amazon, creating a tribe that seems to defy medical science. I don't want to give any more of this novel away, so when you read it you will be amazed by the "wonder" of it all. With themes of survival, medical science, and friendship, I honestly think that many of you will enjoy this novel as much as I did. I don't hesitate in recommending this book for personal leisure or as a book club selection.
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.