Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, on tour June/July 2011

Posted By on May 10, 2011

About State of Wonder

• Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper (June 7, 2011)

“Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.”—New York Times Book Review

Ann Patchett has dazzled readers with her award-winning books, including The Magician’s Assistant and the New York Times bestselling Bel Canto. Now she raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the Amazon jungle.

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina’s assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina’s research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend’s death, the state of her company’s future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher’s expectations.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.

About Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles in 1963 and raised in Nashville. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 1990, she won a residential fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. It was named a New York Times Notable Book for 1992. In 1993, she received a Bunting Fellowship from the Mary Ingrahm Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. Patchett’s second novel, Taft, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best work of fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician’s Assistant, was short-listed for England’s Orange Prize and earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Her next novel, Bel Canto, won both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in 2002, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named the Book Sense Book of the Year. It sold more than a million copies in the United States and has been translated into thirty languages. In 2004, Patchett published Truth & Beauty, a memoir of her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy. It was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Entertainment Weekly. Truth & Beauty was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Chicago Tribune‘s Heartland Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Alex Award from the American Library Association.

She was also the editor of Best American Short Stories 2006.

Patchett has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic,The Washington Post, Gourmet, and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Karl VanDevender.

Visit Ann at her website.

Ann’s Tour Stops

Monday, June 20th: Life In Review

Tuesday, June 21st: The Lost Entwife

Wednesday, June 22nd: nomadreader

Thursday, June 23rd: Regular Rumination

Friday, June 24th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Monday, June 27th: Library Queue

Tuesday, June 28th: Reading on a Rainy Day

Wednesday, June 29th: Bibliophiliac

Friday, July 1st: The Road to Here

Monday, July 4th: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, July 5th: Book Hooked Blog

Wednesday, July 6th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, July 7th: Wordsmithonia

Monday, July 11th: MariReads

Wednesday, July 13th: Steph and Tony Investigate

Thursday, July 14th: The Little Reader

Friday, July 15th: I’m Booking It

Monday, July 25th: Library of Clean Reads


One Response to “Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, on tour June/July 2011”

  1. Melody says:

    I’m really wishing I’d signed up for this one! Everyone’s raving about it.

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