Author(s): Ann Patchett
There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by the pleas of Anders's wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend's steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr. Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest. What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.
Shortlisted for Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.
The best book I have read all year. It made me laugh and weep and left me in a state of wonder: perfect from first page to last ... a masterpiece Emma Donoghue
A triumph and Pachett's best book yet Guardian
Written with a wry grace and irony that reminded me of The Poisonwood Bible (another favourite). I like Patchett's Bel Canto - but I loved this Joanna Trollope, Sunday Telegraph
An absorbing novel, intelligent yet magical, that will keep you wondering until the very last page Sunday Telegraph
It pulls you into the book, has you standing in the jungle in the heat and sweat, as realistic as any computer-generated trickery, genuinely wondering what might happen next ... Just read it and be happy that such a writer as Patchett exists The Times
Something special and worth considering for all the literary prizes, festivals and reading groups going this year ... exhilarating Daily Telegraph
Ann Patchett is the author of five previous novels, including Run and Bel Canto, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She writes for the New York Times Magazine, Elle, GQ, the Financial Times, the Paris Review and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.