State of Wonder

state of wonder cover imageState of Wonder

by Ann Patchett
General Fiction
Harper, 2011
Hardcover - 368 pages
$26.99

 

Patchett’s Bel Canto has always been a hard act to follow, but this book gives it a run for its money. State of Wonder is part a jungle thriller (with the emphasis on “jungle”) and part a pharmacological intrigue. The setting, in terms of the jungle flora and fauna itself as well as the grounds and village of a peculiar tribal culture, is exquisitely embroidered and its verisimilitude heightens the dramatic tension of the story itself. The science, however contrived it might be, is sufficiently persuasive to carry the story. The characters, from the Indian-American protagonist Marina Singh to Annick Swenson the research project leader to the elderly child-bearing villagers, are deeply and compellingly drawn. For Ann Patchett fans nothing less would be expected. For those who haven’t read her, give it a try!