Sep 23rd, 2011 by Annie
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
|State of Wonder by Ann Patchett Dr. Marina Singh, a 42 year old research scientist for a large pharmaceutical firm, is dispatched to the Brazilian rainforest to recover the body of a colleague, Anders Eckman. Eckman had been sent to the Amazon to check on Dr. Annick Swenson, an eccentric and elusive doctor, developing a miraculous top-secret drug.Marina, once a promising phyician under the tutelage of Dr. Swenson, abandoned the practice of medicine during her second-year residency after performing an emergency C-section, against orders from Swenson, that went horribly awry. Marina must come to terms with her past as she faces her former mentor to discover the fate of Anders Eckman.|
Book Club Ideas
The main setting for State of Wonderis the Amazon rainforest. Decorating ideas could include exotic flowers, ferns, bowls of tropical fruit as a table arrangement, a green tablecloth or several yards of jungle print fabric.
If you like to go all out, you can create your own little mini rainforest with twisted brown paper bag vines, green craft paper jungle tree leaves, and brown craft paper monkeys. You can include colorful construction paper parrots and frogs, as well.
Brazil is a country of great cultural diversity with Portuguese, African, European and Indigenous influences. This diversity is more widely seen in the traditional dress of Brazilians outside the urban areas, such as the baiana dress (think Carmen Miranda); ponchos, wide straw hats, baggy pants and boots worn by the gaucho (cowboy); and colorful traditional tunics worn by the native Amerindians.
While I was reading State of Wonder, I listened to the Amazon rain forest on my travel sound machine. If you don’t have a sound machine, you can find the Echos of Nature: Rainforest at Amazon.com.
Book Club Menu
Set deep in the Amazon rainforest tropical fruits and nuts should be included on your menu. You could also introduce your guests to some Brazilian food. I found inspiration from several websites: sonia-portuguese.com, brazilianrecipes.org, southamericanfood.about.com, and world-recipes.info.
Fried Rice Fritters(Bolinhos de Arroz) are a popular Brazilian street food. Crunchy on the outside, soft, savory rice on the inside.
These Hearts of Palm Empanadas were devoured by my family when I prepared them. Very delicious.
I found that many of the ingredients popular in Brazilian food are also popular in many Central African dishes, as in this Central African Fruit Salad, which includes peanuts, mint, and avocado. I omitted the dressing called for in this recipe, and drizzled sweetened condensed milk over the fruit for a Brazilian twist. Delicious!
Wow your guests with a cute little monkey cake. This Wilton Monkey Shaped Pan can be found at Amazon.com. The pan comes with easy to follow decorating tips! It was a snap to make this little monkey.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 3.96 stars (7557 ratings)|
|Amazon: 3.8 stars (300 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.38 stars (8 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4.5 stars State of Wonder is lush and beautiful and simply amazing. I could not put the novel down and the ending was stupendous!|
- What is the significance of Marina’s dreams?
- What did you think of Marina’s relationship with Mr. Fox? Was it based on love?
- How did Marina adjust to her life with the Lakesha? Was she able to adapt to living in the Amazon rainforest?
- How would you characterize Annick Swenson? Did she possess any redeeming qualities? Was there anything revealed about her that surprised you?
- Did you understand Marina’s heart wrenching decision regarding Easter? Did you feel like she made the right decision? Why or why not?
- What did you think of the story’s ending? What do you think the future holds for Marina?
Purchase State of Wonder at your favorite bookseller
|Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles. She received her BA in Education at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from the University of Iowa.
Awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, 1995; PEN/Faulkner Award, 2002; Orange Prize, 2002
Other Works by Ann Patchett
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