State of Wonder

★ Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction
by Ann Patchett Fiction

  • US & Canada HarperCollins (June 2011, Ed. Jonathan Burnham , 368 pages)
  • UK & Comm Bloomsbury Publishing (Ed. Alexandra Pringle)

State of Wonder debuted on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list at number three and the combined print and e-book list at number four. It is also a New York Times Editor's Choice.

There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever.

Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope.

Compelled by the pleas of Anders's wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend's perilous steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr. Swenson and uncover the jealously guarded secrets among the remotest tribes of the rainforest.

What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination, and will be forced to make impossible decisions with consequences more wide-ranging than she could ever foresee.

"Ms. Patchett['s prose is] crystalline and exquisite." The New York Times
State of Wonder UK cover