We continue our journey around the world with this week’s staff pick State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Dr. Maria Singh journeys deep into the Amazon to collect the body and belongings of a now deceased colleague; the same colleague who was sent in to investigate Dr. Annick Swenson, a scientist searching for a mysterious fertility drug. What develops is a frightening but eye-opening story. Patchett is fantastic at making the reader feel as if they’re in the midst of the jungle…bugs, heat, snakes and powerful storms create a truly atmospheric read.
“In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off into the Amazon jungle to find the remains and effects of a colleague who recently died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. But first she must locate Dr. Anneck Swenson, a renowned gynecologist who has spent years looking at the reproductive habits of a local tribe where women can conceive well into their middle ages and beyond. Eccentric and notoriously tough, Swenson is paid to find the key to this longstanding childbearing ability by the same company for which Dr. Singh works. Yet that isn’t their only connection: both have an overlapping professional past that Dr. Singh has long tried to forget. In finding her former mentor, Dr. Singh must face her own disappointments and regrets, along with the jungle’s unforgiving humidity and insects, making State of Wonder a multi-layered atmospheric novel that is hard to put down. Indeed, Patchett solidifies her well-deserved place as one of today’s master storytellers. Emotional, vivid, and a work of literature that will surely resonate with readers in the weeks and months to come, State of Wonder truly is a thing of beauty and mystery, much like the Amazon jungle itself.” –Jessica Schein, Amazon
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