State of Wonder

Patchett, Ann

  14 Reviews

In an exotic corner of the Brazilian Rio Negro, a reclusive scientist, Dr Annick Swenson is developing a miracle fertility drug. Marina Singh, a pharmaceutical researcher is sent by the drug company to make contact with her and determine why another colleague had died in the jungle.

Both a thriller and a thought-provoking morality tale, it is a powerful and spell-binding story exploring human nature amidst the beauty and dangers of the Amazon.

Comments from Groups

Most enjoyed it, an easy and interesting read. Discussion was great, it brought in lots of other topics. Timaru 013

Widely enjoyed in the group. The book left many things unanswered - eg, the practicalities of living in that environment. Aptly named. Christchurch 125

Only four members actually finished the book. Those that did, loved it - "a good yarn". Those that didn't thought it was hard to get into and gave up. A great discussion by those who read it - lots of laughter - it was obviously enjoyed by the four. Christchurch 298

Brilliant descriptive writing but mixed views on the story content. Too far fetched and too many questions unanswered. Hamilton 014

Extremely well written. Intriguing, flowing phrases. Marvellous evocation of the Amazon. Implausible main plot made plausible by the narrarive skill of the author. Highly recommended. Auckland 134

A marvellous book that we all enjoyed. A bit slow to get started, but great evocative writing in the 2nd half. Very atmosphric descriptive writing about the jungle - we felt we were actually there. Very interesting ideas - we had a great discussion about fertility, 1st and 3rd world countries, malaria. This is a multi-layered book with many interpretations possible - there was much discussion about the ending. Tauranga 009

Well written with interesting characters, but general discomfort with the implausible premise. Dunedin 079

We had this book as our holiday read, and as an adventure story with an exotic setting, it was a very appropriate choice. One of our members read it in one day! Palmerston North 004

Initially we thought the book would be hard going, however a few pages in, it became a page turner. We always laugh a lot during discussions and this was no exception. We thought the questions were intelligent and followed a theme. Nelson 014

All loved the book - although it put us off going to the Amazon! Some didn't like the ending - too neat/sad/contrived. We await the sequel. Mapua 001

A well crafted novel, with strong plot and engaging characterisations. Her descriptions of the Amazon were very enveloping and visual. We thought it would make a great film.... Papamoa 001

Those who read this found it a bit slow, and not entirely believable, but it had some good characterisation and kept you in suspense!! Some good twists and turns. We preferred "Bel Canto' and 'Run" however. Christchurch 238



Intriguing book. Some found it hard going in places - very dark in patches. Gave deep insights into the Amazon and story settings. Held our interest because we cared for the characters. The Group appreciated the way the characters were revealed - layer after layer. We debated the title as it seemed not to fit the book. The book did raise great discussion as lots of issues of relevance.
CHCH 203
An extraordinary story. We couldn't stop talking about this one. Some found the pace slow with all the action near the end. Others reveled in the atmosphere of the setting, the beautiful language and the psychological insight.
The book was enjoyed by everyone.
AUCK 194
Book was loved by all except one who hated it, so very polarising. Generated lots of discussion, particularly around the characters and twists at the end. Those reading it for a second time loved it even more and found new insights. A book full of ideas and insights.
We didn't love this one. It was ok.
WARK 003
After "suspending disbelief", most of us enjoyed it. Good discussion on ethical dilemmas.
We all liked this book; fascinating subject and brilliant writing.
ASHH 001
A writerly style of book which was appreciated. However with several science background group members, the plausibility of the general premise and themes of research portrayed was questioned! Some beautiful writing though, and a page turner for some.
NEWP 016
We thoroughly enjoyed this book. A bit tricky to get into at the start but well worth it. Interesting concept, characters, country and ending.
HAST 006
Worth reading to the end. Some of the group got stuck in the middle as the story slows down a bit, but the end is great. Interesting discussion around ethics at our meeting.
We all enjoyed 'State of Wonder' as a most unusual story told by a superb writer, Ann Patchett. During the lengthy discussion, the characters really came alive to us, as did the Amazon jungle, and its tribes, flora and fauna. The ethical questions regarding drugs and the companies that develop them, mainly with financial gains in view, were also debated.
ROTO 006
Only four at the meeting, but the book generated excellent discussion and was enjoyed by all present.
We all enjoyed the book even though it was quite 'far fetched'. Beautifully crafted characters, strong plot with great descriptions of the Amazon. Very clever and layered. Discussion generated a lot of humour as well as the serious issues around ethics.
A very surprising book!