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byPatchett, Ann Ann Patchett raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION There were people on the banks of the the tangled waterways and. Editorial Reviews. Review. site Best Books of the Month, June In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off.

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Praise for State of Wonder Shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, ANN PATCHETT is the author of five previous novels, including Run and Bel. State of Wonder. View PDF. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction book | Fiction | May US & Canada → HarperCollins (Ed. Jonathan Burnham). Read State of Wonder Full Book PDF. Award-winning "New York Times"- bestselling author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, The Magician's Assistant) returns with a.

If you own the copyright to this book and it is wrongfully on our website, we offer a simple DMCA procedure to remove your content from our site. Start by pressing the button below! This has the effect of making everything feel very real, present, alive. It brings the reader closer to the narrative and characters. It pulls you into the book, has you standing in the jungle in the heat and sweat, as realistic as any computer-generated trickery, genuinely wondering what might happen next. Along the way, while storylines mesh and characters deepen, or drop out of sight, the reader too may hold his or her breath. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

It was small enough that all Mr. Fox had to do was reach a hand towards her, and when he did she took the letter from him and sat down slowly in the gray plastic chair beside the separator. There was inside of her a very modest physical collapse, not a faint but a sort of folding, as if she were an extension ruler and her ankles and knees and hips were all being brought together at closer angles. Anders Eckman, tall in his white lab coat, his hair a thick graying blond.

Anders bringing her a cup of coffee because he'd picked one up for himself. Anders giving her the files she'd asked for, half sitting down on the edge of her desk while he went over her data on proteins. Anders father of three. Anders not yet fifty. Her eyes went to the dates — March 15th on the letter, March 18th on the postmark, and today was April 1st. Not only was he dead, he was two weeks dead. They had accepted the fact that they wouldn't hear from him often and now she realized he had been gone so long that at times he would slip from her mind for most of a day.

The obscurity of the siteian tributary where Dr. I cannot call it a canoe. There never were statistics written to cover the probability of its arrival. Had they never bothered to find it? There has to be some sort of global satellite--" "She won't use the phone, or she says it doesn't work there.

He didn't know. She could not bring herself to say his body. Anders was not a body. Vogel was full of doctors, doctors working, doctors in their offices drinking coffee. The cabinets and storage rooms and desk drawers were full of drugs, pills of every conceivable stripe. They were a pharmaceutical company; what they didn't have they figured out how to make. The dead were dead were dead were dead and still Marina Singh did not have to shut her eyes to see Anders Eckman eating an egg salad sandwich in the employee cafeteria as he had done with great enthusiasm every day she had known him.

The first thing he did when he got word about the trip was order field guides to the rain forest, and when they came he abandoned all pretense of work. He put the blood samples back in the refrigerator and pored over the slick, heavy pages of the guides.

He showed Marina the birds he hoped to see, wattled jacanas with toes as long as his hand, guira cuckoos with downy scrub brushes attached to the tops of their heads. A person could wash out the inside of a pickle jar with such a bird. He bought a new camera with a lens that could zoom straight into a nest from fifty feet away. It was not the kind of luxury Anders would have afforded himself under normal circumstances. At the bright burst of the flash, Marina raised her head from a black-necked red cotinga, a bird the size of a thumb who lived in a cone-shaped daub of mud attached to the tip of a leaf.

Fox had tapped for the job. These things take finesse. Fox said that himself. That leaves me with a lot of daylight hours. Swenson was an issue. There was an address in Manaus but apparently it was nowhere near the station where she did her field research; that location, she believed, needed to be protected with the highest level of secrecy in order to preserve both the unspoiled nature of her subjects and the value of the drug she was developing.

She had made the case so convincingly that not even Mr. Fox knew where she was exactly, other than somewhere on a tributary off the Rio Negro. How far away from Manaus that tributary might begin and in which direction it ran no one could say. Worse than that was the sense that finding her was going to be the easy part.

Marina looked at Anders straight on and again he raised his camera. Fox decided to send? Swenson had liked him on the one day she spent at Vogel seven years ago, when she had sat at a conference table with Anders and four other doctors and five executives who made up the Probability Assessment Group to discuss the preliminary budget for the development of a program in Brazil.

Marina could have told him Dr. Swenson had no idea who he was, but why would she have said that? Surely he knew. Marina saw the look of gratitude when she took down her coat that was hanging by itself on the rack by the door, but she would never have sent him there alone.

The task was one for military chaplains, police officers, people who knew something about knocking on doors to deliver the news that would forever derail the world of the people who lived inside the house. Anders is dead. Marina was going along to help Mr. Fox, and she went out of respect for her dead friend, but she had no illusions that she was the person Karen Eckman would want to break the news.

It was true that she knew Karen, but only as well as a forty-two-year-old woman with no children knows a forty-three-year-old woman with three, as well as any single woman who works with the husband ever knows the wife who stays at home. Marina understood that Karen had made a point of knowing her even if Karen had not consciously mistrusted her. Karen engaged her in conversation when it was Marina who answered the phone in the lab.

She invited her to their Christmas open house and the Fourth of July barbeque, where she got Marina a glass of tea and asked her thoughtful questions about protein research and said she really liked her shoes, a vaguely exotic pair of yellow satin flats a cousin had sent her from Calcutta years ago, shoes she loved herself and saved for special occasions. When Marina in turn asked about the boys, what they were doing in school, whether or not they were going to camp, Karen answered the questions offhandedly, offering up very few details.

Marina knew that Karen was not afraid of her. In truth, after two glasses of rummy punch at the last Christmas party, she had wanted very much to lean against Karen Eckman in the kitchen, put an arm around her little shoulders, bend her head down until their heads were almost touching. How she wished now that she had been drunk enough to confide. Had she ever done that, Marina Singh and Karen Eckman would be very good friends indeed. Outside the snow had been falling in wet clumps long enough to bury every blade of new spring grass.

The crocuses she had seen only that morning, their yellow and purple heads straight up from the dirt, were now frozen as solid as carp in the lake. The tiny blooms of redbud made burdened shelves of snow. Fox and Marina pushed forward through the icy slush without a thought that they were for the very first time in their relationship leaving the building together. They made the long walk from the southern quadrant of the Vogel campus to the parking lot nearly a quarter mile away.

Fox said once they were in his car, the snow brushed off and the defroster turned to high. I told him when he left to take his time, to get the point across, but I had thought we were talking about a week, maybe two at the outside. I never considered him staying for more than two weeks. The company had wanted him to go sooner but Christmas was nonnegotiable for the Eckmans.

She had shown Mr. He had mostly talked about Manaus and then about the birding trips he had taken in the jungle with a guide. To her, Anders had spoken mostly of rain. If Mr. Fox had also received letters from Anders, and she was sure he had, he never mentioned them. Not three months. Fox let his eyes trail off across the whitened landscape that smeared beneath the windshield wipers.

That was his only job. No one seriously thought the outcome of telling Dr. Swenson she needed to bring her research back to Minnesota would be Dr. Swenson packing her lab into boxes and coming home—not Anders, not Mr.

Fox, not Marina. But now Anders was dead and the notion of success was reduced to sickening folly. Just the thought of Dr. Swenson gave Marina the sensation of a cold hand groping for her heart.

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It is fifteen years ago and she is in the lecture hall at Johns Hopkins in a seat safely on the aisle of a middle row, and there is Dr. Swenson pacing in front of the podium, talking about the cervix, the cervix, with a level of intensity that elevates to such ferocity that none of them dare to look at their watches.

Even though Marina is a second-year resident she is attending a lecture for third-year medical students because Dr.

Swenson has made it clear to residents and medical students alike that when she is speaking they should be in attendance. But Marina would not dream of missing a lecture or leaving a lecture over a matter as inconsequential as time. She is riveted in place while the slide show of atypical cells on the high wall before her flicks past so quickly they nearly make a moving picture.

Swenson knows everything Marina needs to know, answers the questions Marina has not yet formulated in her mind. A tiny woman made tinier by distance fixes one hundred people to their seats with a voice that never troubles itself to be raised, and because they are all afraid of her and because they are afraid of missing anything she might say, they stay as long as she chooses to keep them.

Marina believes the entire room exists as she exists, at the intersection of terror and exaltation, a place that keeps the mind exceedingly alert.

Her hand sweeps over page after page as she writes down every syllable Dr. Swenson speaks. It is the class in which Marina learns to take notes like a court reporter, a skill that will serve her for the rest of her life.

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It strikes Marina as odd that all these years later she still remembers Dr. Swenson in the lecture hall. K aren and Anders Eckman lived on a cul-de-sac where the neighbors drove slowly knowing that boys could come sledding down a hill or shooting out between the shrubbery on a bike. Fox pulled the car to the curb. Marina and Anders must have made about the same amount of money.

She made regular contributions to charity and let the rest of her money languish in the bank while Anders paid for this house, piano lessons, teeth straightening, summer camp, college accounts.

Ann Patchett

How had he managed, three sons and a wife, and who would pay for this life now that he was dead? For a while she sat there, imagining the various birthday parties and Christmases, endless pictures of boys with presents, knotted ribbon and tornup gift-wrap in piles of red and silver and green, until finally the snow laid a blanket over the windshield and cut off the view.

Fox said, as if this meant maybe they should leave as well. Karen shook her head. I was going to swing by the store on the way to pick up the boys but I can do that later.

Come inside. Marina had been to the house before but only for parties when every room and hallway was pressed full of people. Empty she could see how big the place was.

It would take a lot of children to fill in the open spaces. Marina turned to put the question to Mr. Fox and found that he was standing almost directly behind her. Fox was not taller than Marina. It was something he joked about when they were alone. Through the big picture window Marina saw a jungle gym standing on a low hill in the backyard, a rough fort gathering snow on its slanted roof.

Pickles leaned up against Marina now and he batted her hand with his head until she reached down to rub the limp chamois of his ears.

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The dog would have to stand in for their minister if they had one. The dog would have to be Anders. She glanced back at Mr. Fox again. Every second they were in the house without telling her what had happened was a lie. But Mr.

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Fox had turned towards the refrigerator now. He was looking at pictures of the boys: the two youngest ones a couple of washed-out towheads, the older one only slightly darker. He was looking at a picture of Anders with his arms around his wife and in that photo they were not much older than children themselves.

There were pictures of birds, too, a group of prairie chickens standing in a field, an eastern bluebird so vibrant it appeared to have been Photoshopped. Anders took a lot of pictures of birds. The flush that had been in her cheeks from the momentary burst of cold had faded. Of course she would know. Marina wanted so badly to put her arms around Karen then, to give her condolences.

She was ready for that if nothing else. The words for how sorry she was ached in the back of her throat. This was the moment for Mr. Fox to tell the story, to explain it in a way Marina herself did not fully understand, but nothing came. Fox had given himself over to the refrigerator photos. He had his back to the two women, his arms locked behind, his head tilted forward to a picture of a common loon. Karen turned her eyes up, shook her head slightly.

He sounded like he was half out of his mind. He sat. I mean, the birds, he says the birds are spectacular, but the rest of it is making him crazy, the leaves and the vines and all of that.

In one of his letters he said he felt like they were choking him at night. Where Anders grew up in Crookston there are hardly any trees at all.

Have you ever been to Crookston? He used to say that trees made him nervous, and he was joking, but still. I understand why you sent him. Everybody likes Anders. Fox himself. Surely it was Mr. She pulled out the chair beside her. What rushed before Marina was the inherent cruelty of telling. All the cold that swept through Minnesota came into Karen Eckman and she stammered and shook.

Her fingers began to rake at the outside of her arms. She asked to see the letter but then she refused to touch the thing, so thin and blue, half unfolded. She told Marina to read it aloud. She should have read the first paragraph, as banal as it was. It sounded like some thrifty telegram. The bellows of her lungs strained for nothing. There was no air in the kitchen. Someone needs to be here. Karen, look at me, you have to tell me who to call.

You have to let me call someone. The two of them were alone in this. She slipped down from her chair and sank to the floor to cry against the retriever, wrapping her grief around his sturdy torso while the poor animal shivered and licked at her arm. What idiots they were thinking they knew what they were doing! Marina had had to announce deaths to family members in the hospital when she had been a resident, not often, only if the attending was too busy or too imperious to be bothered.

She simply had to raise her head and there was a nurse who knew more about how to hold them and what to say. Behind her there were charts full of phone numbers that had been compiled in advance.

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Available clergy were listed for any denomination, grief counselors and support groups that met on Wednesdays. The most she had been asked to do was write an order for a sedative. What about those boys standing in front of the school now, the snow growing into piles on their shoulders while they waited for their mother? How could Marina have forgotten to account for them? All of those people at the Christmas party, the women in reindeer sweaters, the men in red ties, the people Marina had seen laughing in this kitchen only a few months ago, leaning against each other with their whiskeyed eggnog, they were desperately needed now!

There was no waiting out the situation. Giving it time would only mean the Eckman boys would start to panic as a teacher led them back into the school building and told them to wait inside.

Marina stood up from the floor, though in her memory she had never sat down on it. She went to the phone, looking for an address book, a Rolodex, anything with numbers. Johnson, Linn Hilder. This is what it feels like when the house is burning down, Marina thought. As much as she wanted to help the wife of her dead friend, she wanted to get out of that house. She picked up the phone and dialed the name on the bottom of the list. She had to take the phone out of the kitchen in order to hear the woman on the other end.

Linn Hilder was the neighbor down the street who happened to have two boys who were friends with the Eckman boys. Why, Linn Hilder had leaned out her car window not twenty minutes ago and asked them if they needed a ride home and they had said no, Mrs.

Linn Hilder was herself now crying as convulsively as Karen.

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Call the school. Go to the school and get the boys. Fox, who had miraculously stepped forward in her brief absence. M arina and Mr. From the moment Mr.

State of wonder

It was an accident as much as being pulled under by the current in the site River would have been an accident. But as they stepped into the smack of frigid wind with only Pickles there to see them out, she wondered if the people inside thought of Mr. Fox as culpable. The days were still short and the sun was already low. Certainly without Mr.

Fox in the picture, the Eckman boys would be doing their homework or rolling up a snowman in the backyard. Anders would be looking at the clock in their office, saying he was hungry, his body already leaning towards the door in their thriving, living world. Fox in the greatest hour of their grief, the blame might still come to them later on, after time and sleep had untangled their thinking. She certainly blamed him for leaving her alone to tell Karen, and for not holding her arm as she carefully maneuvered her way down the unshoveled walk to the car.

Did she blame him for sending Anders to his death in Brazil? She struggled with the handle on the passenger-side door that was half frozen down while Mr. She brushed the snow off the window with her hand and then rapped her bare knuckles against the glass.

He leaned over and pushed the door open. She fell onto the leather seat just as she might have fallen out on the pavement in front of the house had she been forced to wait there another minute.

Her hands were shaking and she pinned them between her knees. All she wanted in the world was to go home and sit in a hot bath. It had stopped snowing but the sky hanging over the prairie was swollen and gray.

The interstate, once they found it, was nothing but a beaten strip of badly plowed blacktop between two flat expanses of white. Fox did not take Marina back to her car. He was driving instead to St. Paul, and once in St. Paul to a restaurant where in the past they had had remarkable luck not running into anyone they knew. When she saw where he was going she said nothing.

It was well after five when they slid into a booth in the back of the room. When Marina ordered a glass of red wine, she realized she wanted it even more than the bath. The waitress brought her two and put them side by side on the table in front of her as if she might be expecting a friend. She brought Mr. Fox two glasses of scotch over piles of ice. She waited. For a long time he waited with her. He would be sixty-one in a month but the events of the day had put him safely beyond that.

In the dim light of the low-hanging swag lamp with a faux Tiffany shade he could have been seventy. He sat hunched, his shoulders pressing towards one another in the front, and his glasses dug a small red groove into the bridge of his nose.

His mouth, which in the past had been generous and kind, now cut across his face in a single straight line. Marina had worked at Vogel for more than six years before they ever came to this restaurant. It was plenty of time to think about Mr. Fox as her employer, her superior. For the last seven months they had made an attempt to redefine their relationship.