This is definitely a 3.5 star book. The writing is so beautiful and striking that I just couldn't stop listening - it's certainly the most understated yet engaging description of a jungle I've ever read. But for most of the book, there was a total lack of forward momentum - after the first third of the book or so, I felt kind of like I was hanging around in the jungle with the main character waiting for some larger purpose to emerge. Maybe that's the effect the author intended, but it left me rather frustrated. Given how long I felt that way, the ending seemed like more of a cop-out than a resolution.
This book was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as Bel Canto and found I liked it more. The descriptions of the Amazon jungle and native people were fascinating as was the book's premise. Hope Davis is a great reader as well. Highly recommended
The lead character is rather feeble and whiney in the first 2/3rds of the book and then magically gets her game on with no real explanation as to why. The plot is very slow to develop but the last third of the book is interesting, and culminates with an interesting if not a tad unbelievable twist in the end.
This book is different. Worth the read if you are looking for a change of pace. I often read mysteries, historical fiction.
Even Hope Davis's weak, nasal voice can't hurt this novel. (She's a fine actor but few actors are also fine readers.) Don't look for wild action, except for a few scenes. Patchett's fiction unfolds slowly but with a relentless tension. Characters are vividly drawn and the setting, especially in the Amazon, becomes a character in itself.
The book starts slow but gets rolling in the second half. Part of the problem is the narrator, who has a wide range with regard to creating the characters through voices, but who reads the book in sort of a sad-sack manner otherwise. The main character just seems too maudlin. Perhaps that is what the author wanted.....a feeling of an impending doom. When we finally get to something approaching a plot, the book and the narrator seem to magically improve so that the end product is one worth listening to. Much of the plot is a bit fanciful, but if you can suspend disbelief for a few hours, some degree of pleasure is likely to land on you.
I LOVED OUR RELUCTANT HEROINE AS SHE GROWS EMOTIONALLYI SO MANY WAYS.
THE WHOLE BOOK WAS JUST FUN TO READ (HEAR).
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
I truly enjoyed State of Wonder, but I'm having some trouble articulating just why I liked it so much. I think that it is mainly due to the compelling, semi-scientific story and Ann Patchett's skillful use of language and storytelling. Dr. Marina Singh and Dr. Annick Swenson are both very interesting, well-written characters, and the exploration of their teacher-student relationship is a large part of what makes this book great. Mentors are often held in awe along with a small bit of fear, espec...moreI truly enjoyed State of Wonder, but I'm having some trouble articulating just why I liked it so much. I think that it is mainly due to the compelling, semi-scientific story and Ann Patchett's skillful use of language and storytelling. Dr. Marina Singh and Dr. Annick Swenson are both very interesting, well-written characters, and the exploration of their teacher-student relationship is a large part of what makes this book great. Mentors are often held in awe along with a small bit of fear, especially when they have had a large part in shaping your life, but that relationship changes when both people mature and their paths diverge. I won't recount the storyline, but I found myself immersed in this book in spite of some of the more ludicrous details of the plot. I don't think that a pharmaceutical company would keep sending lab scientists to the jungle in search of the previously "lost" scientist, and the fertility drug research seemed very strange to me. I think a safe and efficacious anti-malarial would have been quite believable. It is due to Patchett's writing skill, replete with details of insects and anacondas, that I loved this book despite some of the less believable details.
The story got bogged down in the beginning, The last half was good, It held my interest, but the ending came much too quickly. The author had good material and a good story going.......and then it ended. Why?