I don’t usually post about a single title but I feel that I want to tell the whole world about this terrific book I just finished, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett is the best book I’ve read in two years. When I finished it, I want to turn it over and start at the beginning again. But as a librarian, I felt it was far more important to get it into the hands of others instead.
Beautifully written, as all Ann Patchett’s books are, it is a medical thriller taking the reader deep into the Amazon jungle. Novelist Elizabeth Gilbert, in an interview with Ann Patchett, calls State of Wonder “a rollicking adventure story, full of peril and bravery and death-defying action.” Below is a description by Joanne Wilkinson for Booklist,
Marina Singh gave up a career as a doctor after botching an emergency delivery as an intern, opting instead for the more orderly world of research for a pharmaceutical company. When office colleague Anders Eckman, sent to the Amazon to check on the work of a field team, is reported dead, Marina is asked by her company’s CEO to complete Anders’ task and to locate his body. What Marina finds in the sweltering, insect-infested jungles of the Amazon shakes her to her core. For the team is headed by esteemed scientist Annick Swenson, the woman who oversaw Marina’s residency and who is now intent on keeping the team’s progress on a miracle drug completely under wraps. Marina’s jungle odyssey includes exotic encounters with cannibals and snakes, a knotty ethical dilemma about the basic tenets of scientific research, and joyous interactions with the exuberant people of the Lakashi tribe, who live on the compound. In fluid and remarkably atmospheric prose, Patchett captures not only the sights and sounds of the chaotic jungle environment but also the struggle and sacrifice of dedicated scientists.