Wednesday, August 01, 2012

State of Wonder (copy)

As we walked through the Costa Rican rainforest near the Arenal Volcano, we were in a state of complete wonder. Our eyes wide open to the green surrounding us; we hovered over the vast expanse during the Hanging Bridges Tour amazed at the copious foliage sprawl.
I believe it was after exiting the fifth swinging bridge that our guide pointed out the green, Eyelash Pit Viper that sat 5 feet from where we stood. He then described how they like to sit on top of greenery such as sugar cane leaves and bite workers who are harvesting the crop. My eyes went up and I cross examined every leaf on the way out.
You have to read State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Our Reading Round Table members will be discussing this book in October thanks to the continued support from Sycamore Bank. I consider Ann Patchett to be one of the best writers right now. All her books are outstanding and most award-winning. I cannot wait for others to read this book!
Main character, Marina, works for a drug company that is developing fertility medicine from ingredients found in the Amazon rainforest. She sits happily in a climate controlled lab far away from all the discomfort, but that is about to change.
The mailman brought a thin blue letter and inside is a strange note from Marina’s old instructor, Dr. Swenson, who works for the company. First, she explains the weather and next the condition of her campsite, and then finally as a footnote mentions the untimely passing of Marina’s lab partner, Dr. Anders Eckman.
Dr. Anders, a quiet man with three boys under 10-years-of-age and a wife, is dead and he ranks two sentences in her hand written letter. What kind of cold woman wrote such a note? The man was gentle, it is true. He did not belong in the harsh environment, but he had a positive attitude and was excited about the birds he might get to see on the trip.
What about his burial? Where are his things? What caused his untimely death?
Her immediate supervisor and boyfriend, Mr Fox, authorizes her trip in the name of finding out where they are in the development of the fertility drug, but Marina knows she has to go for Mrs. Karen Eckman. Karen refuses to believe he is dead and asks her to find him and bring him home.
Curious note to reading this book, I found myself spraying a lot of insect repellent.