Ann Patchett is one of my very favorite authors, and on the whole this reading was pretty good. If your name is Marina, however, as mine is, be prepared for a constant mangling of the name. And since, as the main character, her name comes up A LOT, this was like a constant grating static. The reader could not stick with one pronunciation. How hard is it--really?! "Marina" like a boat marina. Get it straight.
I loved Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and liked The Magician's Assistant, so I was prepared to enjoy State of Wonder. I wasn't however, expecting to be drawn into the story so utterly. I wasn't prepared to listen to what was one of the best books I have ever read. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The book kept me listening way into the night. A complex and rich story with interesting characters. I really enjoyed the narrator. She brought the book to life.
This thoroughly enjoyable and beautifully written story is a wonderful escape from the debt ceiling. While it does require some degree of suspension of reality, I guess that's partly the point. It is well worth the time.
I enjoyed this book very much. The narration was easy to follow and the readers voice was soothing. I did find the main character a bit insipid and the narrator read her a bit whiny. The supporting characters were all great though. Ann Patchett brought the mystery of Brazil and the rainforest to you and I could really sense the environment. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction about travel and science lovers.
As a pharma researcher, I can tell that Patchett's background research into the pharma industry was spent at a bar one evening with a couple of labrats who were playing a practical joke on her. There is absolutely nothing in this book that even remotely resembles the drug discovery process in real life. Patchett does the public and researchers a disservice by not being more accurate.
Some of her descriptions of the Amazon river basin are vivid and lyrical. But the plot is ridiculous and her portrayal of an driven female scientist in the deepest, darkest jungle borders on misogynism. That plus the stereotype of women in science being awkward geeks or eccentric hardasses made this book very difficult to enjoy.
And it took about 3/4 of the book before something even happens to advance the plot.
But if you have already decided that drug companies are evil exploiters of gentle native people, that women scientists are cold-hearted and unpleasant, and you are content to suffer through a story that wallows in its own inertia, this book is for you.
I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
This book is OK for a driving trip or some other mundane task for which you need passable entertainment. There are a lot of unresolved open ends and the main character (a woman) seems like she is really starved for male attention. (She has a thing for almost all the male characters... and she calls her 'boyfriend' Mr Fox which is really weird. She also has major daddy issues which get annoying) Good descriptions of the amazon and interesting premise. Really wished it had been developed more.
Ann Patchett's superb writing is what kept me captivated throughout this novel. The setting is described with great care and the people of the land are developed to become one with the land. I found the story dragged in the middle. The narrator is appropriate and delivers the story nicely. Parts of this reminded me of The Poisionwood Bible in the way the setting was a character in the story and some of the characters were part of the setting while others are intruders and still others adapt to the land.