Read: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Just like half the world’s population I am currently engrossed in the World Cup, taking place far away in Brazil. But ever since the first game in Manaus, I’ve been thinking not just about football but also about a novel I have read not too long ago: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett In State of Wonder the American pharmacologist Marina Singh finds herself at the confluence of the Rio Negro to figure out what really happened to her colleague Anders Eckman. The latter had previously been sent to Brazil to monitor the research of Dr. Annick Swenson; an eccentric scientist who had retreated into the deepest jungle to live with an indigenous tribe in order to develop a revolutionary new drug. But Anders never came back – only a scant note of his sudden death by fever did.

Looking for answers, Marina doesn’t only venture out into the equally mystical and merciless world of the Amazon, but also confronts her own past on the way. And even if the story’s showdown and end came a bit rushed, they weren’t any less intense and heartbreaking.

Besides the ending, it was the heat and the humidity and the unpredictability of nature oozing out of each line I remember most about the book. (Appropriately enough, I’m writing this post in my heated attic flat while it’s 30 degrees C outside.)

Marina felt the top of her head turning soft as the sun worked into her brain, unloosening its coils.

I had to think of Homo Faber and The Stranger, because in these two literary classics the wild, uncontrolled nature and the climate turn into characters of their own, too; so dominant that all questions of morality and sense simply melt away in the blistering heat.

All this makes State of Wonder a page-turning summer read with a brain; particularly suitable for the unbearable hot days.

Photo: Amazon by Jojo Blöndal

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