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A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years--a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.
I enjoyed reading this book. I saw it received a good review in Entertainment Weekly. I believe one of the indicators of a good book is how much time you think about it especially after completing it. My mind is still in the Amazonian jungle.
I knew from Bel Canto that Patchett was likely to succeed in capturing a character's descent into the heart of darkness with all the melodrama of the jungle - the exotic tropical flora, piercing insect bites, sweaty, sleepless nights, and mysterious tropical diseases. And she delivers, with overtones of Joseph Conrad and Fitzcarraldo. I appreciate Bel Canto a little more, mainly because the seduction felt more subtle, the sources not so obvious; and the characters feel integral to the novel's texture. By contrast, State of Wonder's protagonist, Dr. Singh, often jolted me out of the story with her maddening naivety. Still, this is a thoroughly engaging trip down an Amazonian tributary, complete with anacondas, cannibals, and characters on the fringe of madness.