Our couples book club recently discussed State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.
The newest novel by the author of Bel Canto.
Our book club met on Sunday evening to discuss State of Wonder. The setting for the majority of the book is the Amazon jungle so to enhance the spirit of the book, our hosts dressed for a jungle expedition and served food from the rain forest.
A quick synopsis of the book: Pharmaceutical researcher, Dr. Maria Singh, is sent from her workplace in Minnesota to the Amazon to find the remains of a colleague who was reported dead while checking on a research project in the jungle. The research project revolves around a tribe's reproductive habits, where women are conceiving and giving birth well into their 7th decade. The head of the research project in the Amazon, Dr. Swenson, rarely communicates with the pharmaceutical company funding her research and for that reason, the company has sent staff to find the project director and monitor the progress of the venture. Dr. Singh is also a past medical student of Dr. Swenson.
Patchett does a wonderful job of setting up the meeting between Dr. Singh and the elusive Dr. Swenson. We are introduced to Dr. Swenson's guardians who protect her from intruders that would keep her from her work. The descriptions of the tropical conditions will have you reaching for a towel to wipe your neck and a bottle of clean water to replenish your thirst. You'll be feeling the bugs flying into your eyes and the searing sun on your skin. You will be fascinated by the premise of the research and the work on the fertility miracle drug. You'll encounter an anaconda, cannibals, emergency C-sections as well as loss and recovery of loved ones.
Yes, the book is a bit far-fetched. Some of the characters are hard and unlikeable. You may have figured out the ending or never had a clue. This book is well written and a good read.
Please also consider reading Bel Canto if you have not yet read this best seller.