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State of Wonder

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  145,218 Ratings  ·  15,267 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2011)
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Agnes I found the characters stiff, without life, and the style of the writing very forced. You could feel the sweat of the author trying to craft…moreI found the characters stiff, without life, and the style of the writing very forced. You could feel the sweat of the author trying to craft sentences, but they were not flowing. I wanted to like this book just because of its connection to Minnesota, but the unnaturalness of the characters was alienating. (less)
Jill I would hope she would return to the jungle, leave her job in Minnesota. There was nothing in Minnesota to give her cause to return. In the jungle she…moreI would hope she would return to the jungle, leave her job in Minnesota. There was nothing in Minnesota to give her cause to return. In the jungle she was valued as an individual. She was part of a community. The Lakashi accepted her skills and presence among them. In the jungle she worked as the practicing physician she would never have the opportunity to do in Minnesota. Jungle girl, all the way!(less)

Community Reviews

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Tara
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: perhaps Patchett fans?
Alas, I did not reach a state of wonder reading this. I would say I was in State(s) of: Interest, Appreciation, Mild Irritation, Interest Modified by Moments of Irritation, Shock, and then Milder Shock that dwindled into a State of General Annoyance, which would possibly make it the longest book title in history.

A super-summary: Although she trained as an OB/GYN doctor, Marina is working in service of evil a pharmaceutical drug researcher who has studied cholesterol for the past seven years with
...more
Danielle McClellan
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I thought that Ann Patchett had made her great contribution to literature with "Bel Canto," which seemed to me to be the perfect novel, and stays high on the list of my very favorites. It is the book that I sold by hand as a bookseller and the book that I still pass along to friends. I should keep a stack of them since I have handed mine off so many times that I never know if I have a copy or not. The book is a jewel box of structure, character, and language that left me overwhelmed with admirat ...more
Will Byrnes
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Cannon
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adults

A scientific jungle experiment/investigation involving an elderly and rather secretive matriarchal doctor who leads the experiment, a missing/deceased company representative who was sent to investigate what the experiment is up to, and a female company representative (who happens to also be a former medical student of the matriarch) who is sent to investigate what happened to the previous company representative.

In spite of lengthy descriptions of the experiment and professorial soliloquising by
...more
Arah-Lynda
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top, 2011, i-said
This marks the third time that I have dipped into the writing pool of Ann Patchett and let me tell you, she does not disappoint!
Dr. Marina Singh embarks on a trip to Brazil in an effort to determine two things: What happened to her colleague, who had died there scant weeks ago and what kind of progress was being made by her former mentor in the development of a new fertility drug that was being funded by her pharmaceutical company. Both of these tasks prove to be most complex and difficult to a
...more
Maggie
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This novel was just what I've been looking for this summer: a dazzling story, a meaty pile of ethical questions, characters that endure long after the book is over, and prose that gets more beautiful the more you notice it. I didn't love the novel's end; it was a bit too rushed for me, and the sudden pile-on of action left me wanting more of the slow build-up that carried us to the climax. It occurs to me, though, that wanting more of a book is as good a sign as any that it won me over completel ...more
Diane
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's been seven years since I first read State of Wonder, and the novel is even more luminous than I remembered. Ann Patchett is one of my veryveryvery favorite writers, and rereading her books is such a joy.

The story follows Dr. Marina Singh, who is tasked with going to the Amazon to learn what happened to a colleague who died while working on a new drug. Singh's journey is both perilous and emotional, and this reader was captivated all over again by her adventure.

If you like beautiful writing,
...more
Paddy
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
After all the rave reviews, my expectations were high. But this is no Bel Canto. The infuriatingly hapless heroine does not look ahead to scout out minor(everyone knows to pack some necessities in carry-on luggage, including cell phone)or major consequences of her actions and is locked in past failures and losses (one grows tired of her lost father nightmares and all her screaming). One could also hope for subtler symbolism and metaphors, less stilted dialogue, more skillful writing. For example ...more
Kerry
Oct 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I really wanted to like this book. After all, there are all the raving reviews, and it's the kind of story that usually grabs and holds my interest (jungle adventure + medical drama), but I couldn't finish it. In fact, I gave up after the 4th disc (the audio book has 11 discs). The story plods on like the stifling heat of the jungle, so slow, that it was all padding and no plot for almost half of the book! The author wrote painstaking all the tedious details of Marina's past (she has father issu ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cultural: S American - Amazon
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Arah-Lynda Hay
I won’t give too much detail; you need to read this spoiler free. It’s deliciously gloomy and atmospheric, a dark adventure with Hitchcock style suspense. You’d expect a fearless heroine in a novel like this; instead you get Dr. Marina Singh, a neurotic woman with a really bad case of low self-esteem quite content with her life as a pharmacologist. That is till her boss & lover Mr. Fox (exactly the kind of ass insecure women go for) bullies her into taking on the quest of finding a missing c ...more
Brandice
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
State of Wonder was such a great story, one I was hooked on right from the beginning.

Marina Singh, a scientist working for a pharmaceutical company, Vogel, in Minnesota, is sent down to the jungle of Brazil to find out what happened in the death of her close co-worker, Anders. He had previously traveled there to check on the progress of a doctor whose research regarding fertility drugs is being funded by Vogel. This doctor, Dr. Swenson, also happens to be one of Marina’s former professors. The
...more
Bucket
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Uomo di Speranza
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
WARNING: SPOILERS PRESENT!
When everyone was in about second grade, their teacher taught them about how each butterfly was once an entirely alternative being called a caterpillar. She also must have thrown in the term "cocoon" while you were thinking about how mean the cockney in front of you was for stealing your colorful eraser. Nevertheless, most everyone conceived the concept that there were two inseparable stages to a butterfly's life, two states completely indistinguishable from one another
...more
Madeline
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I fucking hated Heart of Darkness, so when I read that this was sort of a female version of the story, I was wary. But State of Wonder is, fortunately, nothing like Heart of Darkness. For one thing, it's coherent (bazinga!) and although there are thematic similarities, the story stands on its own merits. Conrad can suck it.

The story follows Marina Singh, a researcher at Vogel Pharmaceutical. For years, Vogel has been funding a research project in the Amazon, led by Singh's form
...more
Margitte
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it
From the official blurb:
"Award-winning "New York Times"-bestselling author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, The Magician's Assistant) returns with a provocative novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest--a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of
...more
Elyse
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars!
I was enthralled with this story. Yet, Its a good thing I'm writing this review 'now' --because the more I think about the details of the 'entire' story iself, my review could get get lower and lower.

I was going to give it 4 stars (some inconsistencies going on in this novel), Yet, this was also a compulsively readable book!

Have you ever read a book that you loved 'while' reading it...yet, the more you started thinking about the absurdity of the storyline....you found yourself laugh
...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
STATE OF WONDER
Anne Patchett
This marvelous atmospheric and multi layered novel takes place in the Amazon jungle where an emissary from a pharmaceutical company dies under mysterious circumstances at a research facility.
Dr. Marina Singh is sent to find the remains and effects, but must first locate the famous and reclusive gynecologist, Dr. Swenson who is in charge of the research. Dr. Swenson is researching the women of a local tribe who can conceive well past middle age, and other secret remedi
...more
Sue
Patchett brings the Amazon to life in this novel. It's a smothering, overwhelmingly hot, green, creature-filled jungle approachable by waters infested with beings that can kill humans in myriad ways. Yet it's also home to tribes of natives who live with and from the jungle. There are fantastic birds and scary insects and snakes. And there may be a cure for infertility. That is the beginning of the story and the basis on which the protagonist, Dr. Marina Singh, travels to Brazil to track what hap ...more
Jenn
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book has made me despair for the American publishing industry in a way I hadn't, yet. Why despair? Because it is only the constant pressure to produce, to publish, that would make a company like HarperCollins and a writer with the ability of Ann Patchett push forward this work, which is at best uneven and at worst something that I would expect to emerge from a blinded-by-friendship writer's group. Does that seem harsh? If it is, it's because I expect -- perhaps unfairly -- more of Patchett ...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
My all-encompassing love for Ann Patchett is not a secret. She is my absolute favorite living author and I own every single one of her books. (Side note: remember that time she came to Chattanooga and I couldn't afford to go to the signing - still bitter about that). I've been anxiously waiting on the release State of Wonder for a while now, so when TLC gave me the opportunity to review, you know I was all over it. The day it came in the mail I called Luke at work because I was so excited. And w ...more
Sarah
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this at my mother's request and recommendation. She rarely recommends books and even more rarely asks me to let her know when I've finished so we can discuss it. And also, it talks place in the Amazonian rain forest, a place where I had recently spent some time. As you can probably tell, I'm delaying the start of this review. The book was okay. And I guess for me it falls into those categories of books I sometimes describe as "writers workshop-y" where the author's hand of god is felt for ...more
Debbie
omg. Fantastic book! Goes on my favorites list and is in fact one of my all-time favorites!
Perri
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Bel Canto, it was in the running for my best 2017 book, so started reading this wary that it couldn't possibly be as good. WRONG! Fabulous story, memorable characters, I was sweating bullets with them in the smothering jungle - my skin prickled with unknown insects. But mainly it's Patchett's lush, beautiful writing that won't make me as nervous to pick up her next work.
☮Karen
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Most definitely my favorite Patchett book. Such an adventure, interesting and complex characters; and throughout the jungle scenes I found myself thinking of Barbara Kingsolver and the many wonders she has created for us on the pages of her books. I had imagined so many horrible endings from other reviews I read, but nothing like what played out here. The "rushed" conclusion seemed fitting to me, to match the emotions and actions that developed. I know that down the road this story will come bac ...more
Reddwhine
Sep 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
The second time around for this one. Ironically this time it was a book club selection that I chose. I was curious whether I would think it was as horrible the second time around. I'm a glutton for punishment, what can I say? Here is my review combined with my previous review...and for the record, nothing has changed.

Maybe Patchett and I just don't speak the same English. I disliked Bel Canto intensely but the description of State of Wonder made it seem rather intriguing and so I decided that ma
...more
Debbie "DJ"
I really liked this story a lot, but at times found myself getting bored. What? Bored? I think this had to do with Patchett's language being so straight forward at times, when what was happening was so fantastical, magical, and extraordinary. It might also be unfair, as I have been reading some very provocative writing styles.

This is a story of a secret lab in the Amazon who's researchers have discovered a tribe who have amazing abilities. I won't spoil what these are, only to say they are extr
...more
Katie
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was my first Patchett book and I wasn't disappointed. I've read the thoughtfully-written positive and negative reviews, and can see the points some people have made about the main character's (Marina) unbelievable naivety, stupid choices, and deep feelings about a seemingly shallow relationship with her boss. Thoughts of marriage to him, come on! One reviewer said she should have run off with Milton and I absolutely agree. I wanted to shake her silly sometimes. And, yes, the science doesn't ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I had a good time with this book, and would like to give it 4 stars for enjoyment, but some significant flaws detract from my ability to recommend it to others.

State of Wonder is about a scientist, Dr. Marina Singh, working for a pharmaceutical company that is attempting to develop a new fertility drug in the Amazon. The company sends Marina to the research site to report on the progress of the drug, the brainchild of Marina’s former teacher, Dr. Swenson. But Marina, naturally, finds much more t
...more
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Around the Year i...: State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett 10 86 Apr 13, 2018 04:08PM  
did anyone else catch this? SPOILER! 140 3214 Jan 06, 2018 05:46PM  
Should I finish reading? 3 26 Nov 17, 2017 12:06AM  
Volusia County Pu...: State of Wonder Question #2 1 12 Nov 01, 2016 04:08PM  
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5,990 followers
Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended hi
...more
More about Ann Patchett
“Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.” 1673 likes
“Hope is a horrible thing, you know. I don't know who decided to package hope as a virtue because it's not. It's a plague. Hope is like walking around with a fishhook in your mouth and somebody just keeps pulling it and pulling it.” 126 likes
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