STATE OF WONDER
by ANN PATCHETT


Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder has kept me riveted all week…focused and page-turning while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. That says a lot. “What are you reading?” people would ask. “State of Wonder,” I would tell them, and then explain about Marina Singh, the medical researcher, Anders Eckman, her colleague who dies when sent to find Dr. Annick Swenson, researching a new pharmaceutical drug in the Amazon.

“It’s so well written. And the story is layered and intriguing,” I told people. “It reminds me of The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (which still haunts me) and Euphoria by Lily King.”

As a matter of fact, I was still effusively praising this book just last night — the rich locations, its fascinating characters, the hint of mystery whispering from the pages.

You can imagine, then, how excited I was to crawl into bed last night, having saved the final chapter for my evening read…

Then oh no. Oh no! No. No.

NO. You don’t end a book like State of Wonder this talking about “raspberries and sunlight and tender grass.” You just don’t.

Five stars for chapters 1-10. No stars for Chapter 11. Two stars because I’m still pissed about the not-wonder ending.

— JEN PAYNE

BUY NOW: State of Wonder


As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness.

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett returns with a provocative and assured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotional urgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers an enthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.

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