An adventure story wrapped in themes related to ethics and human relationships.
Marina, a pharmacologist, travels to Brazil to find out what happened to Anders Eckerman, a fellow researcher working in the Amazon jungle with Annick Swenson and other doctors. They are carrying out research to discover why the local women are able to bear children into their 70s. Annick’s reluctance to disclose any results from her research causes frustration with the company funding the work, and Marina is also tasked with finding out why.
“From time to time she thought about the upper quadrant of her left arm, which, since those two shots, felt like both needles had broken off their hypodermics and were now lodged in her humerus like a pair of hot spears.”
“… Marina danced with the people who were not white while the white people watched them. It would never have been her preference to be part of a tourist attraction … Had anyone given her a choice, she would have chosen instead to be back on the porch behind the storage shed beneath her mosquito netting reading … Still, she knew it was somehow less humiliating, less disrespectful, to dance with the natives than it was to simply stand there watching them.”~Quotes from the book.
- Publishers Weekly: “Patchett’s fluid prose dissolves in the suspense of this out-there adventure, a juggernaut of a trip to the crossroads of science, ethics, and commerce that readers will hate to see end.”
- The Guardian: “It lacks the developed emotional core of Patchett’s earlier books, but it is her most mature work to date, a novel that tries to be more alive to the nerve ends of philosophical life than to the simpler machinery of character motivation.”
Author’s website: Ann Patchett
Awards: 2012 Shortlist Orange Prize for Fiction (currently Women’s Prize for Fiction); 2011 Shortlist Wellcome Book Prize
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