Wednesday, 15 August 2012
State of Wonder by Ann Patchet
There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by the pleas of Anders's wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend's steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr. Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest. What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.
Did I like it?
The book begins with news of a death in the Amazon and it did have me hooked from the start. I found half way through it a bit slow as Marina tried to get to the jungle lab to meet with Dr Swenson and I became irritated by the young couple, the Bovenders who were preventing her and guarding the mysterious doctor.
I did get back into the story again but realised I didn't like any of the characters apart from Marina.
Dr Swenson was a strong female but I think the reverence the Lakisha people had for her had made her unlikeable. Mr Fox, Marina's lover was such a wimp with no good qualities I could see and I wanted her to tell him where to go. Once I was halfway through the book I couldn't put it down. Ann Patchett gave me the experience of living in the rainforest listening to the insects and feeling the heat. The ending was very good although maybe our imagination was left to tie up a few loose ends.
I didn't think the author could have written this book without visiting the amazon and I have found out that half way through writing the book that's what she did. Ann Patchett has just answered questions about her book on Gransnet
The questions and answers are very interesting but I'd advise you to read the book first as they do give away the ending. A good book if you want something a bit different from chick lit.
State of Wonder Amazon.com
and in bookshops and kindle.
This book receives **** stars out of five from me