Monday, March 26, 2012

Snapshot book review: State of Wonder

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

State of Wonder is a novel that defies genres. The story is part scientific mystery (what actually happened to Dr. Eckman? why is Dr. Swenson so secretive about her drug development?), part action novel (malaria-induced fevers, deadly anacondas, emergency surgeries, and other terrors of the Brazilian rainforest), but Patchett writes it in the style of a character study, focusing on the thoughts and emotions of protagonist Marina.

My only major qualm are Patchett's Faulkner-esque length paragraphs. With so much detail packed into each sentence and paragraph, it is difficult for the reader to maintain meticulous attention to each word when her paragraphs span three-quarters of a page or more--especially when a character is being squeezed to death by a boa constrictor or some other equally exciting event is happening. Pick up the pace! Get me to "what happens next"!

Despite that one stylistic grievance, this is a very entertaining, even thought-provoking read that will appeal to all sorts of readers. It would make a great book club read.

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