Monday, September 2, 2013

Book Review: State of Wonder

It was my lucky day when I found Ann Patchett's State of Wonder at a thrift store. I've had this on my reading list for a year—who would donate it to a thrift store? This book should be passed from friend to friend with a strong "you MUST read this!"

The story opens when pharmaceutical researcher Marina Singh gets the cryptic news that her colleague and friend, Anders, died of a fever while trying to find a fellow researcher who's gone AWOL in the Amazon. Now Marina must take Anders' place, trying to find the elusive Dr. Swenson, who has spent years on the Amazon perfecting a drug that will allow women to continue having children into old age. Mr. Fox, CEO of the pharmaceutical company that is fully financing the project, wants Dr. Swenson to hold up her end of the deal.

Once in the Amazon and among the Lakashi people, Marina adjusts admirably and is approved of by the elusive, sometimes brutal Dr. Swenson. The secret fertility "drug" of the Lakashi people is revealed, and Marina understands that she can never report the truth back to Mr. Fox.

And that's really all I can reveal about the plot. Patchett's writing is beautiful. Her description of the Amazon and life in the tribe is fantastic. She is a beautiful, lyrical writer. I've read reviews that criticize Patchett's lack of expertise in the medical and pharmaceutical field, but I didn't care one bit. I thought the story whole plausible and beautifully written.