State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, narrated by Hope Davis
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by Harper Books, both imprints of HarperCollins
The letter changes everything. The letter that says that Anders is dead, that his body is buried in the rainforest of Brazil. Anders was Marina’s lab partner, someone she had come to work with day in and day out for years, and now he is dead, and there is nothing left except a letter from Annick Swenson, the woman he went into the rainforest to find. Now everyone wants answers: Marina’s employer Vogel wants to know the status of the drug on which Annick is working, something she is very secretive about, and Anders’ wife Karen wants to know what happened and how he died. Somehow, it is Marina who becomes tasked with finding these answers, Marina heading down into the jungle to find Annick Swenson, her former teacher who presided over one of the worst days in Marina’s life, and Anders’ story.
Thoughts on the story:
Here’s the part where I admit to you that I’ve never read Ann Patchett before.
Go ahead, throw eggs and/or gasp in astonishment, I’ll wait.
I can see from State of Wonder why she is an author people so greatly admire. The writing is lush and full, absolutely beautiful and transporting – if you are never going to make it into the rainforest, here’s one possible substitute. Perhaps the hot, humid Chicago summer helped, but I did feel myself suddenly in the jungles of Brazil due to Patchett’s lyric descriptions and eye for detail. There were some parts of the story that seemed farfetched and too coincidental, but I was already so drawn in by the writing and Marina’s character development that they didn’t bother me, when I even noticed them.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Hope Davis did a fabulous job narrating State of Wonder. I must admit, I was initially a bit wary; her narration of the opening interactions between Marina and Anders in the lab was slightly awkward and did not bode well. However, she quickly gained her ground and sucked me straight into Patchett’s story. She was able to narrate everything from fever dreams to irate professors with equal ease and in an equally convincing way.
Hope Davis’s narration was a perfect complement to Ann Patchett’s beautiful writing and added something extra to an already engrossing book. Recommended.
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