Its a story about a woman who goes looking for her good friend & coworker who is lost in the jungle. Along the way we meet a tough old bird who's exterior is peeled back to reveal a lost, tender woman who really can love. We meet our heroine after she's lost in the maze of her own mind for most of the story as she confronts her own desire to procreate. And we also meet silly, stereotypical natives. Its a long, grueling story that seems to take forever but in a matter of minutes you've reached the end and yearn for another chapter.
THis is another book that kept my attention riveted from start to end. I wished it had not ended.
Say something about yourself!
State of Wonder is my first audio book. Accustomed to the reader in my own head, I didn't think I would enjoy listening to someone else's interpretation of any book. On top of that, while reading particularly good writing, I often pause over a phrase or passage to enjoy the way an author plays with words. I spent four days choosing this experience, finally settling on Ann Patchett's State of Wonder as a book I have tried to read many times but couldn't 'get into', narrated by Hope Davis, a very fine actress who, with a theatrical (some Mamet) background, I expected to know how to respect an authors words.
(Hearing a few cringe-making samples had me as concerned about the narrator as the author).
I could not have made a better choice. This audiobook is a true collaboration; the sum, the result of two extraordinary talents working to create a sublime storytelling experience. I now understand that while my own (in head) reader/narrator was not up to the task of fleshing out what some print reviewers call 'flat characters', Ms Davis' interpretation breathes life and liveliness into Marina, Mr. Fox, Dr Swenson and the living and dead ghosts that accompany Marina on her Amazonian quest.
Although I found State of Wonder a sometimes too literal interpretation of the Orpheus myth filtered through Conrad's heart of Darkness (the Horror!), I enjoyed every moment of Patchett's rollicking tale. The audiobook is at its best during the action scenes when (as I'd hoped) Davis reads the narrative with a subdued sense of urgency, propelling us through Patchett's words and heart pounding images of Amazonian terrors.
To be honest, I have only one real complaint about this audiobook; If, as I suspect, the State of Wonder audiobook, is a masterpiece in this new twist on an ancient artform- how on earth am I going to choose a second one without being disappointed?
When I first started listen to this novel I was in a State of Wonder as to why I got the book. About 3+ hours into the book I was glad I was persistent for I found a State of Wonder had little bit of everything: action, adventure, mystery, but most of all, great writing.
The story centers around a once doctor now research scientist Dr. Marina Singh. Marina is sent to the Amazon by Voguel, the pharmaceutical she works to investigate the status of a new fertility drug being developed by her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon. But Marina's personal motivation is to find out what happened to her colleague, Anders Eckman, and how he died. Arrival in Brazil is not without incident, all her luggage and finding Dr. Annick Swenson is being hampered by Swenson???s employees. Finally Dr Swenson arrives unannounced from the Amazon and tries to send Marina back. The main journey starts when Annik, Marina and Easter (a young deaf boy) arrive back in the Amazon. The stories we hear reveal more about Eckman's fate, Easter's origins, Marina's past and Swenson's goals.
I found Dr. Swenson to be a haughty, high-handed character, she was bossy overbearing and at times she made me laugh. I really liked her character. I found the 2 main characters to be very characters to each other, but also play against each other well to demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses.
I thought Hope Davis did a fabulous job reading this novel.
Simply wonderful. The reader and the writer seems to be perfectly in synch. I wish it had gone on longer--the type of book that leaves you wondering what happens to the characters after you leave them. In some ways it's reminiscent of Mark Twain and his respect of the Mississippi. Truly a wonderful listen!
Ann Patchett has written a lot of great books, but this one shows off her ability to turn a classic story on it's head. Patchett's feminist version of what it means to
Davis' performance enhances what was already a good book, her emotional reading helped me forget I wasn't there myself.
The name is good: A really nice play on
I you like Patchett, you will love this.
Yes, several times again.
When I realized that the doctor was pregnant.
This book mixes science, science fiction, travel and suspense in one book. I really enjoyed it.
I struggled to get through the first 1/3 of the story and almost quit. I found the heroine, Marina, dull and uninteresting. The story becomes much more engaging when her foil, Dr. Swenson, enters into the narrative. I also thought the premise that a pharmaceutical research company would send a research team into the jungle without any oversight or accountability, for years on end, was totally absurd. The novel is saved by the addition of Dr. Swenson and other characters that have personality, and the depiction of the research station amid a primitive tribe in the amazon. My wife enjoyed it more than I did, and I suspect women may enjoy the novel more than men. The narration is quite good.