This will be a very short post on Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, which I recently finished. In some review somewhere for this book, I had come across the word “deadpan” being used to describe the general style and tone of this book. My personal word choice for the same would be “unembellished.” That goes well with the progression of the story line and the resolution. As a result, the book has a general sense of harmony. Yet it was underwhelming for me for a number of reasons:
- To some extent, I enjoy sweating through the rigors of original expressions and unfamiliar vocabulary. The book’s language was way too bare-bones.
- I expected a book set in the Amazonian wilderness to be enriching and even educational. There was barely enough about the flora and fauna. The Lakashi and Hummocca were projected as (subhuman) alien lifeforms. Sure, she talks about mosquitoes, temperature, humidity, maladies, and distance from Westernization. But there is nothing drastically unknown or particularly illuminating in any of that about life in the Amazonian tropics.
- Reading a lot (or watching a lot of movies) makes us sly and the endings more guessable! Accordingly (among other things) I felt with reasonable certainty that Anders was alive and that Dr. Swenson indeed recognized Marina. The outcomes and resolution were, therefore, far from jaw-dropping.
I must admit I literally sped through this book because it felt too dull. Upon discovering how drab the language was, I assumed the selling point of the book would be an intricate and intriguing plot. But I realized my fallacy soon enough as I read on! The story progressed slowly. Not a great deal happened eventually. To conclude, this isn’t a terrible book. It is just about tolerable. Therefore I just can’t comprehend how it came to be a bestseller!