Wilton Reads 2012: State of Wonder by Anne Patchett — Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897 Tel: 203-762-3950

Wilton Reads 2012: State of Wonder by Anne Patchett

Click here for past Wilton Reads Selections

Watch Ann Patchett talk about State of Wonder at Wilton Library on May 30th, her second talk at the library:

We encourage all community members to join us this spring as we come together to read, discuss and reflect upon State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. Wilton Reads! has, for several years, given us an opportunity through fine literature to sharpen our view of ourselves and the world around us. State of Wonder takes us beyond our town, our region, our comfort zone. Its pages are filled with fascinating characters, an exotic milieu, and ethical/moral issues that should concern us all.


What have the critics said about this riveting book?

A spellbinder from bestselling author Patchett…Thrilling, disturbing and moving in equal measures – even better than Patchett’s breakthrough Bel Canto (2001).” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Patchett is a master storyteller who has an entertaining habit of dropping ordinary people into extraordinary and exotic circumstances to see what they’re made of. [An] expansive page-turner…Patchett’s fluid prose dissolves in the suspense of this out-there adventure…that readers will hate to see end.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“’State of Wonder’ is an engaging, consummately told tale. Patchett’s deadpan narrative style showcases a dry humor that enables her to wed, with fine effect, the world of “Avatar” or the “Odyssey” with that of corporate board meetings, R&D reports and peer review. This unlikely marriage of the magical and the prosaic, of poison-tipped arrows and Fourth of July barbecues, informs every line of her prose.” The New York Times

“Like John le Carre’s “The Constant Gardener,” “State of Wonder” explores the unsavory behavior of Western pharmaceutical firms in Third World countries, but Patchett’s microscope is more finely calibrated to observe the strange choices individuals make in the remote wilderness of their own conscience.”Washington Post

In recognition of her continuing exemplary contributions to contemporary literature, Ms. Patchett received Wilton Library’s Grodin Family Fine Writers Award when she spoke to us a couple of years ago. Those of you fortunate enough to have attended her Wilton Reads discussion of Run in 2009 will want to be front and center to hear her discuss this latest work, a truly wondrous tale of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonian jungle, that is both a gripping adventure and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love. Not only does she write sublimely, but she also speaks effortlessly, with intelligence, humor, and honesty. She enthralls her audiences as well as her readers – it is simply a joy to hear her speak. And she loves libraries!

If you’re a member of a book discussion group, please tell your fellow book group members about what we’ve got in store. We’ve purchased extra copies of State of Wonder for you to borrow, and have large print and CD versions of the book, too. You can reserve any of these versions online or by phone and have them waiting for you at the front desk or the drive-up window on Godfrey Place.

Please note the following important dates for Wilton Reads! 2012:

Day Date Time Description
Wednesday April 4th 10 am until they’re gone Distribution of 100 free books* (1 per person, please)
Tuesday May 15th 7 to 8:30 pm Discussion of State of Wonder with Susan Boyar (register now)
Thursday May 17th 10:30 am to noon Discussion of State of Wonder with Joanna Ecke (register now)
Wednesday May 30th 7 to 9 pm Author appearance: Ann Patchett (register now)

*thanks to the Grodin Family Fine Writers Fund

Wilton Magazine is the media sponsor for Wilton Reads! 2012

Want to learn more about the author and novel? Explore these sites:

  • Book groups may find the Reading Group Guide for State of Wonder particularly helpful with a brief Biography of the author and sixteen discussion-starting questions.
  • The Lit Lovers site has pretty much the same discussion questions, but adds a summary, interesting information about the author, and some reviews of her novels.
  • Literature Criticism Online has a lengthy article on Ann Patchett and her body of work through 2004. You will need to type in your Wilton Library barcode to access the article (the barcode is on your card – call 203-762-3950 x211 if you need help).
  • An LA Times review provides a particularly good summary.
  • The Telegraph review contains more insights.
  • Watch Ann talk about State of Wonder online (Bloomsbury).
  • Ann and Martha Stewart – really (!)…with book recommendations.
  • Sara D. recommends State of Wonder for the Capitol Area District Library.