I treasure Ann Patchett’s writing. Throughout State of Wonder I found myself going back to reread certain lines and sentences, not because I didn’t understand them, but because I wanted to really let them soak in.
“Like her mother and all her mother’s people before her, those inexhaustible blondes who staked their claims in verdant prairies, Marina was cut from Minnesota, the soil and the starry night. Instead of growing up inquisitive and restless, she had developed a profound desire to stay, as if her center of gravity was so low it connected her directly to this particular patch of earth.”
I understand a woman “cut from” a particular soil. I feel that way about my own Chicago roots. So this helped me know Marina. I recognized in her “the profound desire to stay.” The irony of this kind of person dropped into an Amazonian adventure is brilliant.
“In an instant the veil of insects lifted and Marina saw nothing as she had never seen nothing before. It was as if God Himself had turned out all the lights, every last one, and left them in the gaping darkness of His abandonment.”
Now that’s an image! Whenever I read Patchett I am amazed (and envious) of her ability to describe setting. Can’t you just picture it?
Add to this beauty the fact that Patchett crafts a wonderful story about science, anthropology, reproduction and loss, and it equals a true winner. I was lost in the Amazon, conflicted and drawn to possibility right along with the main character Marina.
“In this life we love who we love. There were some stories in which facts were irrelevant.”
This is the kind of quote I paste on my mirror. The difference between fact and truth is a major theme underscoring this novel.
The only thing keeping this book from 5 stars are its last 50 pages, which come so fast and so improbably, that I was drawn out of the story.
Still, I loved this book.
- Amid Pulitzer Rebuff, Fiction’s Silver Lining (josephgarvin.wordpress.com)
- The Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett’s first novel (alenaslife.wordpress.com)
- Ann Patchett one of Time’s Most Influential People (alenaslife.wordpress.com)
- Valyruh’s #CBR4 Review #30: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (cannonballread4.wordpress.com)
- State of Wonder (clairemca.wordpress.com)