Monday, February 20, 2012

Book review: State of Wonder

How good it was to be absorbed into another of Ann Patchett’s stories, alongside some strong characters, at a cracking pace and a confidence that the pages would give good reading value from start to finish. There is a great deal of simplicity in this book –a death, a search, people who act as you would expect them to  - but that goes hand in hand with a narrative that invites the reader to fill in obvious gaps and had me wanting to get back to the story each time I had to leave it for a while.
The geography feels authentic, the heat as oppressive as I remember it on my visit to the Amazon and illness is described competently, always from the sick person’s perspective. I was surprised by the quantity of insect life Marina encountered but that was probably because these were remarkable by their absence during my boat  trip on the Rio Negra.
The ending disappointed just a little by solving the obvious in a way that was just little hard to believe. After all dying of a fever in Amazonia is not unusual but much was left unsaid in the last pages about relationships between the key characters. I see another book there.

1 comment:

  1. This story, if viewed literally, is quite unrealistic and perhaps may seem off putting in the extreme to the literal minded. To criticize the novel on that score, however, misses the mark. One great purpose of fiction is to teach us about life, about what it truly means to be human. The magic of great fiction is that a created story, one that even tests credulity in some respects, can accomplish that important and grand purpose better than a more realistic recitation of "the facts" out of which the imagination and skill of the fiction writer has woven the tale.