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.
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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 osakeya.info the tangled waterways and. Editorial Reviews. osakeya.info Review. site Best Books of the Month, June In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off.
Now she raises the bar with State of Wonder , a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the site jungle. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter.
Others had walls and walls of mice or monkeys or dogs. This particular lab Marina had shared for seven years with Dr. 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. In the pictures of Mary that Mr. Fox kept out, one of her alone that was in the kitchen, and another in the den with their two daughters on a rafting trip, she looked like someone Marina would like.
She had a good face, her eyes opened wide, her thick wheatcolored hair pulled back in a ponytail. Mary had taught math at a prep school in Eden Prairie that both of their girls had attended. Fox said, holding the picture.
She went to Italy her junior year at Vassar and that was it for her. She believed she was supposed to be Italian. The girls were little, maybe six and eight. It was difficult to imagine them as doctor and banker. Mary in the picture was younger than Marina was now, her health shimmering like the pinpoints of light spreading out across the water behind her. They are standing on the bank of a river in front of an overturned canoe, pine boughs feathering the edges of the frame.
Fox, who is himself not yet forty when he pushes down the button on the camera. She was at the top of the actuarial tables. She ate her vegetables and went hiking and never smoked and had so many friends. I would have bet every dime I had on her. It was the thing that had allowed Karen to marry Anders and have those three children, their shared belief that he would always be there to take care of them. Had they thought for a minute that things might turn out the way they did they never would have had the courage to begin.
Had they not been so hopeful and guileless her birth would have been impossible. Marina reimagined her parents as a couple of practical cynics and suddenly the entire film of her life spooled backwards until at last the small heroine disappeared completely.
Even Marina, who understood all of this, was still able to think that Mr. Fox was possibly, obliquely, suggesting they might marry. Marina and her husband bought their own divorce kit at an office supply store and amicably fi lled out the paperwork at the kitchen table.
He took the bedroom furniture, she took the living room furniture. In a gesture of kindness, she offered up the kitchen table and the chairs that they sat in, and because he knew she meant it kindly he accepted. She had turned thirty the week before. She had six hours left before she had to be back at the hospital. The thing that Marina was feeling the end of so acutely, the thing that made her want to take to the sofa in the middle of the day, was not the end of her marriage but the end of her residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
Four years into her five-year program she had switched to clinical pharmacology, enrolled in a Ph. She did not tell her mother about the accident, nor about the Spanish Inquisition that had followed.
She did not tell her mother about Dr. Marina pulled her coat around her shoulders. Beneath the plane was a soft white bank of clouds that shielded passengers from the landscape below. There was no telling where they were now. She let her head tip back and thought that no harm could come from the smallest sip of sleep. She knew how to close her eyes for two minutes. It was a magic trick she had picked up in her residency, falling asleep in the corner of an elevator and then waking up on the right floor.
She pressed the button on the armrest and let her seat recline. She set her internal alarm for five minutes and gave in to the sleep that had been pulling at her since the nightmares had thrown her out of bed this morning. But this time when the elevator doors opened she was not in Calcutta.
She was at Vogel, looking down the hallway at the tile floor and humming lights, and suddenly she changed her mind about everything. She should have told Anders about Dr. Anders would have been grateful for any insight, she could see that now, and it seemed possible that this one additional fact could have changed his outcome. He might at least have been wary.
The more she thought of it the faster she went down the hall. All of the windows set into the doors of the labs and offices were dark. Everyone had already gone home. Except Anders.
He was at his desk, his back towards her. She always got to work before him in the morning. He had to drop the boys off at school. Her heart was beating so fast, , she thought, The look on his face was half surprised. Anders always took his watch off in the morning, they all did, too much hand washing, too many times in and out of latex gloves.
How early must she have gotten up this morning in order to put on that much mascara? The trick of Lariam was to figure out which part was the dream and which part was her waking life: Vogel she knew, Anders and the lab. It was the plane that smacked of nightmares. There was something she had meant to tell Anders. Maybe he was concerned, or bored, or inappropriately friendly, or midwestern friendly. Nothing was clear. She took the glass of water that was handed to her and drank it down.
After all, they were in this together now, seatmates. Either way it was a loss. The intimacy of sleeping next to strangers, much less twitching and making noises, was unbearable. She had been going to tell Anders about Dr. It was a funny business, the subconscious mind, thinking that it could rewrite history. It would never have occurred to her to tell him what had happened when he was alive, and now that he was dead she was certain she should have.
The great, lumbering guilt that slept inside of her at every moment of her life had shifted, stretched.
Marina Singh had had an accident a long time ago, and after that she had removed herself from the obstetrics and gynecology program. She had never told her mother, who thought that her daughter had had an illogical change of heart late in her training, or Mr.
Fox, who never knew her to be anything other than a pharmacologist. The people who did know the details of what had happened, Josh Su, the friends she had at the time, one by one she found a way not to know them anymore. She no longer knew Dr. With a great deal of concentrated effort she had found the means to stop repeating the story to herself.
She no longer traced the events through the map of her memory, studying the various places where she had been free to make different choices. Marina Singh had been the chief resident and Dr. Swenson was the attending. On this particular night, or as the review board had called it, the night in question, she was working at the County Receiving Hospital in Baltimore. It was a busy night but not the worst.
Her eyes were dry and she concentrated on keeping them open. This nice man here woke you up in time. Something in that smile implied that he was sheltering a small flame of hope that there would be a reward for his good deed. She was lingering. She tried to separate what had happened that night from her deposition.
She tried to place herself back at the actual event instead of the endless and exhaustive retelling of that event. The patient was twentyeight, African-American.
Her hair was straightened and pulled back. She was tall, broad shouldered, enormously pregnant. Marina was surprised to remember how much she liked the woman. If the patient had been afraid she never showed it. She talked about her other children in between her contractions and sometimes through them: Marina paged Dr.
Marina told Dr. Swenson that unless the situation improved they would need to do a cesarean. And Dr. Swenson said, she was very clear on this, that Marina was to wait. She was not to do the section without her. I used to not be able to fly at all and I went to a class where they taught us to hypnotize ourselves into thinking we were on a bus. It works as long as I have a drink. Do you want a drink? He was pale with high red cheeks, a fellow traveler who wanted her to ask him why he was flying to Miami and if that was his final destination.
He wanted her to tell him she was going on to South America so that he could be impressed and ask her what she planned on doing there, and she would do none of that. She would do nothing for him. She had done C-sections before but on that night she was told to wait and monitor and call back in one hour if there was no improvement.
Swenson the second time, and she waited and waited but there was no call back. When she looked at the clock she realized that only forty-five minutes had passed, not an hour. The rules were intractable. She had not followed the rules. It was exactly the thing Marina had always admired about Dr. Swenson until she was the one trying to get her on the phone. The patient was a talker, and they had time to talk.
She said her two-year-old had kept her up all night the night before with an earache. Her husband had dropped her off in front of the hospital. She wanted him there. Her voice was strong, louder than it needed to be in the small room. That would be the end of everything. It was two. It was three. No calls were returned. Women for the most part knew how to push out an infant. Marina went back to check on the woman again. The doctor was terrified, the patient was patient.
Back in the days when Marina played this fi lm in her head every hour, waking and sleeping, this was the part she watched most carefully.
She slowed down the tape to a crawl. She looked at every frame separately. She was not terrified that the patient would die or that she would lose the baby, she was terrified that she was doing something wrong in the eyes of Dr. She was thinking that if she had followed instructions and waited another fifteen minutes to call the first time then none of this would be happening.
Surely she had learned her lesson now. Surely Dr. Swenson was almost there. The nurses understood all of this. Swenson so she can walk right in. Marina should have called another doctor but she never even thought of it. She had stretched the time out too far trying to cover herself. The plane dropped sharply and then righted itself. It was an air pocket, a blip, but for a split second every person on the plane heard the same voice in their head, This is it.
The deeper truth of the story was someplace years before this, at the beginning of her residency, or in medical school that first day of class when she saw Dr. Swenson down in the pit of the lecture hall. There were no words for how much she admired her, her intelligence, her abilities as a doctor.
All of the students did. In every moment Dr. She was harder on the women in the group. She would tell them stories of her own days in medical school and how when she came along the men knit their arms together to keep her out. They made a human barricade against her, they kicked at her when she climbed over them, and now all the women were just walking through, no understanding or appreciation for the work that had been done for them.
She had just wanted to see if she was capable of spending five years of her life living up to Dr. All of a sudden she felt drunk. Somewhere very far away she could feel the presence of a man beside her.
He had let her go. She could never have told this story to Anders, even if it would have put him on his guard, even if that might have been the thing to save his life. He had three sons of his own, after all. Marina remembered there was a sheen to it. She cut the skin, dug through the fat for the fascia. She had thought there was no time left. Her hands were working at triple speed, and there was the uterus. It used to be that she could feel it in her own face, the straight incision, the scalpel slicing 61 StateOfWonder-UK.
Marina met him in the hallway and told him what she had done. She saw him flinch in exactly the way she had flinched. He was not allowed to see the baby then. The specialists were already working but some things cannot be set to right. They did not terminate her residency. Marina remembered this with no small amount of wonder.
When all of it was over and the lawsuit was settled, she was allowed to go back. The patient had liked her, that was the hell of it.
They had spent the whole night together. That one mistake. So Marina was left to mete out a punishment for herself. She could not touch a patient or face her classmates. She could not go back to Dr. Swenson, who had said in the deposition that the chief resident had been instructed not to proceed alone.
Over the three hour period the fetal heart rate kept getting lower but every time it reversed. It kept coming up.
Maybe in another hour or two she would have dilated. Maybe in another ten minutes the baby would have died. No one knew the answer to that. Marina was a sinking ship and from the safety of dry land Dr. Swenson turned her back and walked away. Marina suspected in the end Dr. Swenson had no idea who she was. Anders was never going to stay home. Not when there was a chance to leave in the winter and see the site, to photograph the crested caracaras.
And anyway, he had already left, he was already dead, she was flying to Brazil in hopes of fi nding out what had become of his body. She had been up all night with the patient, she had been up all night blinding the child, and now her eyes dropped, opened, dropped. This was the cost of going to fi nd Dr. She went to the lab at Vogel even though she had promised the man beside her on the plane that she would not.
The picture, whose small subjects were so incandescent they seemed to throw off a little light of their own in the dark room, was in her hands when the door opened again. Anders had forgotten what this time? She only wanted him back. Of course he was there now, of course. There was a part of the dream that did not follow her into waking—this part—where her father comes into the room and says her name. The part when they are together for a while, the two of them, before things go wrong.
The truth was so much more complicated than that. It was made up of grief and great rewards and she needed to remember all of it. He looked good in his yellow kurta and pressed trousers. He looked fit and rested, a braided belt circling his trim waist. She understood it was the business of time to move forward but she would have been glad to stay exactly in this moment.
One by one the doors opened and her colleagues came out to meet her father and shake his hand and behind them came Indians, more and more of them, until it felt like 63 StateOfWonder-UK. They pressed ahead, holding on to each other for as long as was possible. She pulled off her light spring coat and then the zippered cardigan beneath it, stuffing them into her carry-on where they did not begin to fit, while every insect in the site lifted its head from the leaf it was masticating and turned a slender antenna in her direction.
She was a snack plate, a buffet line, a woman dressed for springtime in the North.
Marina handed over her passport to the man at the desk whose shirt bore all the appropriate badges and tags of his office.
He looked hard at her picture, her face. When asked, she said she was visiting Brazil on business. Marina squeezed into place at the crowded baggage carousel and watched the river of bundled possessions flow past. Marina waited and watched for her own unassuming luggage, looking away only long enough to help a stranger drag a foot locker to the floor.
She thought of Calcutta, the madness of the baggage claim that gave only the slightest preview to the madness of the streets outside.
She and her mother and father were alone together among the thronging masses, her father shepherding them from the path of young men with roller carts. Sari-wrapped grandmothers guarded the family luggage by sitting on top of it, zippered soft-sides that strained to open against a series of exterior belts.
Marina shook the image from her head, turning her full attention to the scene at hand. She tried to stay hopeful through the dwindling: She made a mental list of the items a smarter person would have kept in a carry-on: Paul airport. The unhappy people who crowded the office of lost luggage pressed against the stacks of unclaimed suitcases and together they raised the temperature in the little room some fifteen degrees beyond the heat in the vast cavern of baggage claim.
A small black metal fan sat on the desk and stirred hopelessly at the air in a two foot radius. One by one they approached the girl at the desk, making fast conversation in Portuguese. Marina touched the suitcase that most resembled hers. The printer churned out a piece of paper that the girl then handed back to Marina, circling a phone number and a claim number. Young girls stood on their toes and waved. Taxi drivers hustled for fares, cruise directors and site adventure guides herded their charges into groups.
An assortment of cheap shops and money changing stations vied for attention with bright colors and brighter lights, and right in the middle of everything stood a man in a dark suit holding a neatly lettered sign with two words: Marina Singh.
The man holding the sign appeared to see everything, and though there were easily five hundred people to choose from, he very quickly turned to her. He was quite far away.
She did not hear her name as much as see it shaped by his lips and she nodded. He walked towards her and the sea of life parted easily around him. He held out his hand. She had to remind herself that an embrace was not in order. I was concerned. His eyes peered into hers for any sign that things had not gone well. I had to go to the claims office. She pushed it back in the bag. On his face she saw a look of sorrow and responsibility. He shook his head. He leaned his body slightly forward and whispered something to the man with the gun and the man with the gun held up his hand to stop the people who were pouring ahead to let Milton and Marina through.
He then held out one of those hands to Milton and Milton shook it as they passed. Already they were moving past the carousels. They stepped into the claims office which was now crowded with different people who had lost their luggage on later flights. They pushed against one another, angry and sad, thinking they had been the only ones. The girl working behind the desk saw them, or sensed them, as soon as they stepped inside the door and she raised her head.
When a man who had waited more than an hour for a word of recognition began to protest, the girl made a clucking sound with her tongue and silenced him. Milton gave her the computer printout and she read the report she had typed up herself as if it were a document of compelling mystery, then let out a long sigh. From his wallet Milton took a business card and quickly folded a bill around it, talking, talking.
The girl took it from him and he kissed the tips of her fingers. She laughed and said something to Marina that may or may not have been lurid in nature. Marina looked back at her, dumb as a sock. The outside air was heavy enough to be bitten and chewed. With every inhalation she felt she was introducing unseen particles of plant life into her body, tiny spores that bedded down in between her cilia and set about taking root.
An insect flew against her ear, emitting a sound so piercing that her head snapped back as if struck. Another insect bit her cheek just as she raised her hand to drive the fi rst one away. They were not in the jungle, they were in a parking lot. For an instant the heat lightning brightened up an ominous cloud bank miles to the south and just as quickly left them in darkness. Marina shook her head. A neck pillow for sleeping on the plane.
A copy of The Wings of the Dove, which she brought because she thought it was long enough to see her through the entire trip. His brotherin-law ran a store in town. Milton took out his cell phone, assuring her the brother-in-law would be amenable to meeting them with the keys despite the late hour, not a problem, and Marina, who very much wanted a toothbrush, accepted.
Milton was careful to maneuver around those potholes which could be maneuvered around. He drove cautiously through the ones that could not. People clumped together on corners of busy streets waiting for a light to cross, but when the lights changed they continued to stand there.
Girls dressed for dancing pushed strollers past walls pasted over in handbills. An old woman with a broom swept debris through the middle of an intersection. Marina watched all of it thinking of Anders, wondering if he had seen these same people on the night he arrived.
He came here just after Christmas. We work for the same company. She thought of him standing in that same airport, his feet planted on the same asphalt outside. They had been divided by only a scant handful of months, one of them slipping out the back door while the other was coming in the front.
It was then that an entirely different idea came to Marina. Swenson, of course. She is a very good customer. Do you work with Dr. Swenson as well? Swenson, or Dr. Swenson would have found one for herself. It would be a car as clean as this one, a driver as strikingly competent.
But Dr. Swenson is rarely in Manaus. Her work is in the jungle. He should not be talking about Dr. We work for the same company now. Milton nodded then, keeping his eyes straight ahead. I grew up in Manaus. Up ahead a man sat on a low cement step and Milton pulled the car over. He was tall and thin, wearing a pink cotton shirt that would have covered two of him.
He greeted them in clipped Portuguese. He clearly was not as pleased to be coming out late as Milton had suggested. He introduced his brother-in-law, Rodrigo, to Marina, as Rodrigo took her hand to help her out of the car.
Rodrigo said something to Milton when he unlocked the door to the building. Milton then flipped on the lights. Inside it smelled of sawdust. He checked to make sure the door was locked behind them. Rodrigo covered his eyes with his hands as if trying to ensure darkness, all the while making quick use of a language Marina did not speak.
She blinked, her eyes dilated and blind and then flooded with electric light. The store was nothing but a large square with wood plank floors and every conceivable item crammed inside: The colors of the boxes and bottles climbing up and up to the high ceiling made her dizzy. They were taking turns flipping the switch from off to on to off and she was to make fast work in the light while she had it.
She picked up a red toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, insect repellent, sunblock, two cotton shirts, T-shirts, a straw hat. She held a pair of pants up to her waist and then dropped them on the counter. The suitcase might arrive in the morning or she might never see it again. She picked up a package of underwear and then a cluster of elastic hair bands.
Marina heard both of their names. In a gesture that struck her as being particularly Indian, Rodrigo pressed his palms together in front of his lips and made a slight bow of his head. It is something to see the way she comes into the store. She stands right in the middle, right where you are, and points to what she wants and Rodrigo brings it down for her. She does it all without a list. Swenson would be working very hard on her medicine and so she would send someone else into town, then two days later there she would be at the dock.
In the end she told me sending someone else was only time wasted. Milton ignored him. There are certain items he orders just for her.
Outside she could hear voices and then the rattling of the door handle, and then the slapping of hands against glass. The crowd wanted in. She would download a boat and head down the river herself if it came to that. She asked if there was anyone who would know how to find her. Milton tilted his head from side to side as if weighing out his thoughts.
He could follow the conversation well enough in English but did not speak it. He brought out a hooded rain poncho folded into a clear plastic sack and a small umbrella. He handed them to Marina and nodded at her with a gravity that insisted she add them to her downloads. They are very hard to miss. They are travelers.
Milton opened his eyes. She held a single yellow flip-flop against the sole of her shoe, then she put it back to try another. She picked up a prepaid phone card.
Anders would have found the Bovenders easily enough if they were living in Dr. He had the address where her mail was delivered, he would have gone there first. It sounded like someone was hitting the edge of a watch against a counter. She looked up to the ceiling to see some hard-shelled insects dashing themselves against the fluorescent tubing. He continued to shout at them in Portuguese.
Rodrigo shut off the light again. In the dark he put her downloads into tissue thin plastic bags. Milton turned and looked at her. They looked dissipated standing there in the open street, as if there had never really been the energy needed to push their way inside. Still, they waited around to voice their disappointment, which they did in a half-hearted manner. The featherweight sacks containing everything she had taken were looped over her fingers and she held 74 StateOfWonder-UK.
He reached into one of the bags and showed her the carbon of the bill, a neatly printed record of everything she was leaving with. Marina started to say something and then let it go.