I read the review Sherry referenced and The Sisters Brothers .
I have to agree, I preferred The Sisters Brothers even though deWitt seemed to know very little about the time or place. I later listened to an interview with him and learned his setting was arbitrary and he was relieved when he discovered, subsequent to publication, details like the fact that toothbrushes were something of a novelty proved accurate.
Patchett did a better job of researching State of Wonder. The medical aspects of the book couldn't have been too difficult for her -- Patchett's mother is a nurse, her stepfather is a physician and her husband is a physician. And, she spent some time in the Amazon so she knew about the opera house and she should have been able to describe Manaus and the rain forest.
I was a little surprised by Patchett's research didn't yield better results.
The characters didn't ring true: Marina was way too passive, Fox was way too timid, Annick was a criminal. Pretend for a minute someone from Brazil visited the United States to conduct unauthorized, potentially lethal, medical experiments on the civilian population in Minnesota. Criminal. And, the location didn't ring true: twelve hours from Manaus in a heavily laden boat powered by a 15 hp Evinrude motor, upstream yet, doesn't put you on the dark side of the moon.
I enjoyed State of Wonder, but still ...
posted 10 months ago. ( permalink )