Written By: Ann Patchett

Narrated By: Hope Davis

Date: June 2011

Duration: 12 hours 22 minutes


A New York Times Bestseller; Orange Prize nominee; a Time Magazine’s Best Books of the Year; a Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Top Ten Best Books; and a Welcome Trust Book Prize nominee.

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

Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett returns with a provocative and assured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest.

Marina Singh is a research scientist at Vogel, a pharmaceutical institute in Minnesota, and inconveniently in love with her boss, Mr. Fox. When one of her colleagues is reported to have died while following up on the progress of a field team based in Brazil, Marina is dispatched by Mr. Fox to the Amazon to uncover the truth of his death. And his widow wants his effects. She travels to Manaus, then down into the Amazonian delta, deep into the dense, dark, insect-infested jungle. The research team is looking into the development of a new miracle drug that could revolutionize Western society. A local tribe has the bark of a certain tree, it yields a substance which allows them to conceive late into middle age: many of the women are getting pregnant into their sixties and seventies. The problem is that the team is taking too long: they have been silent for two years, and Marina has been tasked to find out what is holding back their progress. The second problem is more serious: the team is being headed up by the daunting figure of Annick Swenson, an eminent and fiercely uncompromising scientist who was once Marina’s colleague, and towards whom Marina has very complicated feelings. What Marina learns will change her life. In a novel that is packed with amazing twists and surprises, Ann Patchett returns with immense confidence to a broad canvas, teeming with atmosphere and characters and rich with narrative. Remarkable events--fights with anacondas; encounters with cannibals; deaths; re-births--and profound moral decisions come together in a novel that will enthrall her many readers and fans and is guaranteed to be a major bestseller.

Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotional urgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett  delivers an enthralling, innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.


  • Anonymous

    The only other Ann Patchett book I have read was Bel Canto, which I enjoyed immensely, yet the synopsis of State of Wonder left me feeling it was not for me. How wrong I was! I listened to the audiobook, brilliantly read by actress Hope Davis, and was riveted from the first moments. I am, frankly, not the least interested in the Amazon jungle which is why I steered clear of this book for so long, but it was a fascinating backdrop to a story that really grabs you irrespective of its setting. I hate reviews that give things away -- so I'll stop. But I promise you the writing and the story are both top shelf!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • threemore

    I liked Bel Canto better then this, but it is better then many of her other works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Yvette R.

    Lives it !

  • Brian J.

    This was an intelligent, unique and at times gripping story. I loved it but did love a small scene at the very end. But thoroughly enjoyed the book. Do read it and decide for yourself! Native narrator was great too.

  • Mayda T.

    Wonderful!! It was a word painting and I enjoyed the story line immensely!!

  • Dawn H

    The narrator was just ok. Her voice had the same tempo and inflection for everyone except Marina and Dr S. Whether it was the book or the narrator, Marina seemed two dimensional and bland; it was hard to get into the story as half the book was a lead up to meeting Dr S. Still there were moments of great writing and good dialogue sprinkled throughout. Pat hey must’ve had fun creating Dr S; she is a unique character that stayed true to herself until the end. Ah, the end...except for the utterly incongruous sexual tryst, the ending was a creative and satisfying way to wrap up the story.

  • Kristyn L

    Took a little while to get into it but once you do you can't stop listening! Unexpected turnout!!

  • Shireen D

    I was riveted from the first "page". I loved how my loyalties kept shifting and what I thought I knew or judged was altered masterfully. Practically every character has shades of grey. The story was entertaining and the subject matter was, too, even though at first my inclination was that I was in NO way interested in the region or the topic. Wrong. Can't wait to read some of her other books.

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