Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ann Patchett does it AGAIN! I was reluctant about reading this ... the description of the book did not intrigue me. In fact, I was sure that I wouldn't connect with it. But, the magic of Ann Patchett made it all okay! No matter what she writes about, I seem to love it!

Patchett's ability to take you into a world that is unknown to you, make it come alive, and write it all well is her magic! She is an incredible writer. The Amazon CAME ALIVE in this book. All because of Ann Patchett's incredible writing ability. All in all, the writing is lush, beautiful and engrossing. One of the things I love most about Ann Patchett is that each of her stories is a complete shift from that which she's written before. I never know where she's going to come from, where she's going to take me. For me, all of her novels are amazing - but amazing in completely different ways! And part of the treat in reading a Patchett novel is not knowing where you'll be going from the start. She defies my attempts to pigeonhole her every time!

Although State of Wonder isn't my favorite Patchett novel (I think Bel Canto and Run are overall better novels), it is an EXCELLENT book. Definitely worth reading!

The characters are wonderful, flawed, interesting and compelling. The major and minor characters seem to walk right out of the book, through Patchett' words. They come alive. I love that her characters are never cookie cutter men and women. They tend to be flawed, true and real. And the characters in this novel are no exception. The characters in this novel are multifaceted. They are good and bad - just like you and me!

One of the most impactful (and enjoyable) aspects of this novel is how Patchett makes the jungle come alive. The insects, heat, trees, critters and the suffocating heat/humidity come together for the reader in a way that makes the jungle a critical character in the novel. Each aspect of the jungle is conveyed incredibly!

I admit that the premise of this novel wasn't particularly compelling BUT Patchett surprised me and made it WORK. And made it work well. Although the focus is on the Amazon, fertility, anacondas, cannibals, pharmaceutical companies and a mystery, it is SO much more! Don't let the premise keep you away!

I recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a good story with wonderful writing! If you've enjoyed Patchett's other novels, you won't be disappointed!

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1 comment:

  1. What an apt title! Patchett at her best is a magician of wonder, and this is indeed among her best. I count her BEL CANTO as one of the best books I have ever read. I have read each of her others looking for the same quality, finding it to a large extent in THE MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT, but being quite disappointed with her rather prosaic RUN, which preceded this one. I found myself reading STATE OF WONDER slowly and more slowly, allowing myself to sink into her depth of character, enjoying the deliberate pace of her revelation, reluctant to start another chapter until I had digested the one just finished. The urge to spin out a book for as long as possible is rare for me -- but I remember it well from reading BEL CANTO, a pivotal experience which reawakened a love of fiction that has never let up.