My enjoyment rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Literary fiction
Book source: personal copy
Objectionable material: Only if you have snake phobia; one F bomb
Ladies of Literature book club
Pharmaceutical giant, Vogel, has lost contact with their lead research manager, Dr. Annick Swenson, in the heart of the Amazon forests. After colleague Anders Eckman, who is sent to investigate Dr. Swenson’s incommunicado, is reported dead, Dr. Marina Singh is sent to find out the nature of Dr. Eckman’s death and to bring the rogue Dr. Swenson back in line with Vogel’s research objectives. What Dr. Singh discovers is a mythical tribe with lifelong fertility, magical mushrooms, a research group determined to keep the fertility elixir quiet, and a Doctor who has earned both trust and fear from those around her.
Ann Patchett has created a provocative novel about science, nature, friendship, exploration, morality, and endurance, and how they all collide in the jungles of the Amazon.
I was amazed at Ms. Patchett’s writing style. She so gloriously creates the flora and fauna of the jungle that I was tempted to swat mosquitoes away and seek suitable shelter from the animals lurking therein.
The story was so multifaceted --- was it the magical drug that was so important? Was it Dr. Eckman’s disappearance? Was it Dr. Swenson’s despot-like rule over the research team and tribe? It was all deftly woven with balance and intrigue.
After reading Ms. Patchett’s novel, I am convinced, now more than ever that A) I have no desire to “vacation” along the tributaries of the Amazon, and B) to extend my fertility beyond normal limits. God knew what He was doing.
Overall, a good read, and a good book club discussion.