Patchett’s descriptions are wonderfully sensuous: “The outside air was heavy enough to be bitten and chewed.” Another scene involving an enormous anaconda snake in a boat was viscerally action-packed. I could smell, hear and even taste the Amazon, but what ruined the experience was that the non-indigenous characters all seemed to fear or to resent the jungle. The setting was an impediment to their work.
|Cornwall, England - really!|
State of Wonder, and Marina in particular, had so much potential but fell short, especially at the end. I disliked the narrative tone even as I appreciated the quality of the writing and all the fascinating, well-developed characters. Patchett is the most talented wordsmith. You can mine almost any page of her novels for gems. Perhaps my problem was only that I had such high expectations based on Patchett’s earlier work. Her Bel Canto, also set in South America, was nearly perfect. Patchett remains one of my favorite authors.
However, the South American authors Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez did a much better job of capturing how beauty balances the dangers of the jungle. Hey Amazon, why can’t we get One Hundred Years of Solitude on the Kindle? I just bought this gorgeous paperback copy for my son at the Borders closing sale. Talk about final chapters. Will 2012 be the year of the ebook?
Disclosure: no free products were received. While stowing my Kindle for landing in Heathrow Airport, I read about Patchett’s new novel (published June, 2011) in a magazine. I then sampled the first chapter and downloaded the ebook while waiting for the train to Cornwall. Kindles are great for travel!
|Where I read State of Wonder: West Country, England|
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