Tuesday, September 20, 2011

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Escape to the deepest Amazon in Ann Patchett's wonderful new novel. Dr. Marina Singh leaves her Minnesota existence far behind when she travels to Manaus in Brazil to find out what happened to her colleague and lab partner, Anders Eckman. Their employer is Vogel, a giant pharmaceutical company, which has been funding top secret research among the Lakashi people. The Lakashi women remain fertile and bear children well into their 70s. Dr. Annick Swenson is the formidable scientist heading the research, and she is also Marina's former professor. Another complication is Jim Fox, head of Vogel, who has been having a clandestine romantic relationship with Marina for over a year, since his wife died.

Patchett has created a rich cast of characters, a vivid setting and surprising plot twists. The ending is the biggest treat of all. The narrative arc comes to a satisfying conclusion, yet so much possibility remains open for the characters to make further choices and to live on beyond the final pages. Very highly recommended!

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