Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Books: State of Wonder

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
Copyright 2011
353 pages

My book club chose State of Wonder as its November book. I put it in the same category as our last choice, Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver, at least in its multiple messages.

In State of Wonder, Marina is a pharmacologist who is sent by her employer to the Amazon. The reasons for this are many: the company has another doctor there working on a fertility drug but the doctor won't send regular reports and updates, and Marina's coworker, Anders, who was sent to check on the drug's progress, reportedly died while he was there.

While the book is a character study of Marina, it is also full of environmental messages and warnings. What are we doing when we delve into things we might better leave alone? What eco systems are we destroying, what habitats and peoples are we negating in the search for the next, best cure or fix? Why can't we just leave well enough alone?

These are very good questions, and the book asks them but does not offer straightforward answers. There is an implication, though, that the meddling is not for the best and that humanity might be better served by preserving instead of destroying.


  1. lol when i was reading "sent to the amazon" i read it as "sent to amazon" as in amazon.com and was thinking "huh, that's odd" :D i think a book club would be fun to join but i'm such a slowwww reader!

  2. I enjoyed Flight Behavior and am a big Kingsolver fan. Thank you for this suggestion!


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