Thursday, July 7, 2011

STATE OF WONDER: A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
STATE OF WONDER
BY ANN PATCHETT

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Ann Patchett has dazzled readers with her award-winning books, including The Magician's Assistant and the New York Times bestselling Bel Canto. Now she raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle.

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations. 

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ann Patchett is the author of six novels: State of Wonder; the New York Times bestselling Run; The Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Taft, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; The Magician’s Assistant; and Bel Canto, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize, the BookSense Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction: the New York Times bestselling Truth & Beauty and What now? Patchett has written for many publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, Gourmet, the New York Times, Vogue, and the Washington Post. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. 
Photo by Melissa Ann Pinney 

PRAISE FOR STATE OF WONDER:
“A spellbinder from bestselling author Patchett.  Thrilling, disturbing and moving in equal measures—even better than Patchett’s breakthrough Bel Canto (2001).” 
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“Patchett is a master storyteller…[An] expansive page-turner…Patchett’s fluid prose dissolves in the suspense of this out-there adventure.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“[A] superbly rendered novel.  Patchett’s portrayal is as wonderful as it is frightening and foreign. Patchett exhibits an extraordinary ability to bring the horrors and the wonders of the Amazon jungle to life, and her singular characters are wonderfully drawn. Powerful and captivating.” 
— Library Journal (starred review)

MY REVIEW:
Ann Patchett, award-winning author of BEL CANTO, is back with an elaborately involved novel, STATE OF WONDER.  Patchett's marvelous descriptions draw the reader right into the jungles of the Amazon, where the story is set, and this setting becomes as important a character as the people. The main characters are Dr. Marina Singh, who is a pharmaceutical company researcher, and Dr. Annick Swenson who at one time was Singh’s adviser in medical school when Singh left to pursue a career in pharmacology instead. Dr. Singh’s colleague, Anders Eckman, died when he was sent in search of the missing Annick Swenson who is in the Amazon rain forest working on a very important new, and profitable, drug.  Finding Swenson and the drug are very important to many people for many reasons.

Faced with her own fears and much apprehension, Marina Singh leaves on a journey to a jungle she can only imagine exists. While there, she not only needs to find the elusive Dr. Swenson and the new, mystery drug but also hopes to find out how her friend, Dr. Eckman died. 

After a long and drawn out beginning which, to be honest, I found tedious to get through, Marina is off to the part of the jungle where she does finally find Dr. Swenson. My thoughts about the first part of the book being a little tough to get into may have been due to the heat of the summer and my restlessness. I am one who likes to get to the main point of the story without quite as much time spent on getting there. With the rest of the novel’s description capturing my attention and Patchett’s reputation as the fine writer she is, I made myself stick with it and the result was worth it.

Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is still a force to be reckoned with as she rules her camp and the natives being studied with an iron fist, seemingly heartless and inflexible, demanding nothing but the best. However, Swenson is also hard on herself and as the story goes on, makes harsh demands of Marina Singh as well. As for this “miracle” drug, Dr. Swenson has found out that the bark from certain trees there give women the possibility of being able to conceive indefinitely with no regard to age. This is the exciting drug the company wants to produce. Little do they know, like Dr. Swenson does, that this bark also seems to make women immune to malaria. While this would be a huge discovery for science, it isn’t as profitable as when used to allow women to conceive on into their senior years. It appears Dr. Swenson has personal confirmation of this.

How Marina Singh handles this situation and what becomes of the drug and Dr. Swenson makes for an exciting conclusion. STATE OF WONDER not only leaves readers with a lot of questions such as if the use of innocent people to test a drug is right, but also at what point is it really proper and ethical for a woman to conceive a child? How liable to their employer are researchers and workers dealing with research when they discover other pertinent findings? Lastly, I think the ending showed Marina’s character as she was faced with so many difficulties to face both professionally and personally.  She took them on and found something in herself she didn’t know was there. Dr. Singh must battles snakes and cannibals but also her own beliefs are challenged and she has to come to terms with that which for her is the biggest battle of all.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO MARK AT HARPER COLLINS, 
I HAVE THREE COPIES OF THIS BEST 
SELLING NOVEL TO GIVE AWAY  
 
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
 

COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:
 
 +1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT YOU READ ABOVE ABOUT STATE OF WONDER AND DON'T FORGET YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT ANN PATCHETT AT THE HARPER COLLINS WEBSITE "FUN STUFF" SECTION HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE CURRENT GIVEAWAY OF MINE THAT YOU HAVE ENTERED AND IF YOU ENTERED FOR MORE THAN ONE,  YOU MAY COMMENT ON EACH SEPARATELY FOR MORE ENTRIES
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM ON JULY 19
GOOD LUCK!

140 comments:

lag123 said...

I have never read any books by this author. I don't normally like books which are set in the jungles but I would like to try this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I am not familiar with the music she likes (Chatara, Chakara, Vartee by Sat Kirin Kaur.)

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/lag32583/status/88917293698007040

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the Folly Beach giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the THE TALK-FUNNY GIRL GIVEAWAY

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the Working it OUt giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS GIVEAWAY

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the Killer Move giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the Sunset Bridge giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

debbie said...

This sounds like a really good book. I think that there are alot of ethical dilemas with some of the new drugs being made. The drug companies themselves only look at the profits. I would really like to read this book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I entered the talk funny girl giveaway
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I entered the jefferson key giveaway
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

lag123 said...

I entered the Engagement in Seattle giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

debbie said...

I entered the pie town giveaway
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

lag123 said...

I entered the UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COOKBOOK and HARRY POTTER FILM WIZARDRY DOUBLE BOOK GIVEAWAY

lag110 at mchsi dot com

debbie said...

I entered how to eat a small country
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I entered the greater journey giveaway
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

lag123 said...

I entered the Pie Town giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the Jefferson Key giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the THE AMERICAN HEIRESS AUDIO BOOK GIVEAWAY

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I entered the 10th Anniversary giveaway.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Tore said...

I would love to read this book about drugs and drug companies. It sounds very interesting. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

dogwood said...

I love Ann Pachett! I can't wait to read this one - personal backstory, taking on drug companies, a story set in the Amazon - sounds like a winner to me!


dogwoodlane at suddenlink dot net

dogwood said...

I also entered The Greater Journey


dogwoodlane at suddenlink dot net

dogwood said...

Her author connections tool is way cool!


dogwoodlane at suddenlink dot net

Bethie said...

I think it is interesting that it takes place in the Amazon jungle.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I went to her web site and I had to laugh when she said if she wasn't writing she would be making dioramas.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Folly Beach giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Talk Funny Girl giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Greatest Journey giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Killer Move giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Sunset Bridge giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Art of Saying Goodbye giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Crude Deceptions giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Harry Potter giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the How to Eat a Small Country giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Engagement in Seattle giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the AMerican Heiress giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the Jefferson Key giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered the 10th Anniversary giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Connie said...

Hi! I haven't read any of the author's books yet. I hear from several people that this is a fascinating and fabuluous read. Thank you for the great giveaway! :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Connie said...

I entered the "Folly Beach" giveaway as well. :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Linda Kish said...

I may have to speed through the build-up to get to the meat of the book. But, I like the idea of the story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

She likes making dioramas. I always hated making them...to the point of dread.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered 10th ANNIVERSARY

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered THE JEFFERSON KEY

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered PIE TOWN

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered AN ENGAGEMENT IN SEATTLE

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered HOW TO EAT A SMALL COUNTRY

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered THE SENTINELS: CRUDE DECEPTION

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered THE ART OF SAYING GOODBYE

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered SUNSET BRIDGE

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

I think the search for this doctor, who winds up still being so ruthless, sounds fascinating. Love Patchett's writing, always recommend Bel Canto to friends. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

Entered KILLER MOVE

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered WORKING IT OUT

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered THE TALK-FUNNY GIRL

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Entered FOLLY BEACH

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

I think it's hysterical that if she wasn't a writer, she'd be a maker of dioramas. You know who her mom is, right? What a family.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Tenth Anniversary.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Jefferson Key.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Pie Town.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the American Heiress.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the Macomber giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered How to eat a Small Country.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Crude Deceptions.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the HP giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered The Art of Saying Goodbye.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Sunset Bridge.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Killer Move.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Working it Out.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered High Strung.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered The Greater Journey
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Folly Beach.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered The Talk Funny Girl.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

bookmagic said...

I like that this takes place in the Amazon.

bookmagic418@gmail.com

mamabunny13 said...

This book sounds a lot different than anything I've read before and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered 10th ANNIVERSARY GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered THE JEFFERSON KEY GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the PIE TOWN GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the THE AMERICAN HEIRESS AUDIO BOOK GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the AN ENGAGEMENT IN SEATTLE GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the HOW TO EAT A SMALL COUNTRY GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mamabunny13 said...

I entered The Art Of Saying Goodbye
giveaway.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the SUNSET BRIDGE GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered KILLER MOVE GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered WORKING IT OUT GIVEAWAY
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#1 HAPPY 4TH FB BONUS
mambunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#2 HAPPY 4TH FB BONUS
mambunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#3 HAPPY 4TH FB BONUS
mambunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#4 HAPPY 4TH FB BONUS
mambunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#1 +5 JULY FACEBOOK
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#2 +5 JULY FACEBOOK
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#3 +5 JULY FACEBOOK
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#4 +5 JULY FACEBOOK
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

#5 +5 JULY FACEBOOK
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered the Folly Beach giveaway
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered fantasy In Death giveaway
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

Entered Fantasy in Death.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Bethie said...

Entered the Fantasy in Death giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

holdenj said...

I entered The Summer of Us.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

bison61 said...

poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals--book sounds so exciting

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Bethie said...

Entered the Season of Us giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered Season to Taste

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered One Summer giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Margie said...

Looks like this book might have an interesting setting. It also might have some controversial comments about the pharmaceutical industry.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered for Jefferson Key
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered for Pie Town
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered Engagement in Seattle
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered for How to Eat a Small Country
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered Art of Saying Goodbye
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

holdenj said...

I entered One Summer.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Margie said...

entered for Killer Move
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

holdenj said...

I entered Season to Taste.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Margie said...

entered for Talk-Funny Girl
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

entered for Folly Beach
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

July 4th Bonus entry 1
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

July 4th FB Bonus entry 2
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

July 4th FB Bonus entry 3
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

July 4th FB Bonus entry 4
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

+5 Swag
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The author says she likes to dream big, when asked for her one wish and wishing for world peace.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

holdenj said...

I entered Very Bad Men.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Bethie said...

Entered the Very Bad Man giveaway

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

Sounds like a great book. I'm a big fan of things that take place in the Amazon, ever since I was a kid and played Amazon Trail. Would love to read this. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I entered the Harry Potter giveaway.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

mamabunny13 said...

I entered Before I Go To Sleep giveaway.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Bethie said...

Entered Before I go to sleep

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

holdenj said...

I entered Iron House.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Before I go to Sleep.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Ms. Appel said...

I would love to win this! I love Ann Patchett's work!

Johanna (dot) appel (at) gmail (dot) com

Ms. Appel said...

I had no idea that Ann Patchett and Elizabeth McCracken were friends!

Ms. Appel said...

I also entered the Before I Go to Sleep giveaway

Johanna (dot) appel (at) gmail (dot) com

holdenj said...

I entered How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Bethie said...

Entered Summer Rental

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

Entered How Clarissa Burdon learned to Fly

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

holdenj said...

I entered Sweet Chic.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Next to Love.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

CLICK HERE TO
SEE MY POLICY