Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Paragraph -- State of Wonder


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
This week, I finally got my hands on State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down a colleague and former mentor who has been working on a new, amazing drug for a pharmaceutical company. I'm struck by how similar the premise is to the book Hector and the Secrets of Love which I reviewed here. Hector was sent by a drug company to find an older, respected researcher who had gone missing too. But I get the impression these books are going in very different directions.
Here's the first paragraph:
The news of Anders Eckman's death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the staionery and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope. Who even knew they still made such things? This single sheet had traveled from Brazil to Minnesota to mark the passing of a man, a breath of tissue so insubstantial that only the stamp seemed to anchor it to this world. Mr. Fox had the letter in his hand when he came to the lab to tell Marina the news. When she saw him there at the door she smiled at him and in the light of that smile he faltered.

So many times I am put off by the writing in the first paragraph. This one definitely has me hooked.
What about you? Would you keep reading?

9 comments:

Michael/Bookshelf Reviewer said...

Really great teaser for the book, it looks interesting. Another great idea for a meme. New Follower =] Thanks so much for visiting my blog. =]
thebookshelfreview.blogspot.com

Harvee said...

The mention of Brazil has me hooked. I hope to be able to read this sometime!

judi said...

lol.... the mention of minnesota kept me reading. i loved her description of the Aerogram. (sheesh. i remember using those.)

JoAnn said...

Yes, I would definitely keep going. I've enjoyed all of Patchett's books and look forward to reading this one, too. Will keep an eye out for your review.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I loved that intro and really enjoyed that book - hope u do as well!

Linda said...

She's a great author but some of her books disappoint me. I'd probably keep reading though because she writes so well.

kaye said...

great opening paragraph. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Leslie said...

I enjoyed this book too. It does have a great intro.

Ceska said...

State of Wonder is one of the best books I've ever read, and I've read many, many books. Ann Patchett has an astonishing ability to write the most beautiful sentences, creating images of people and environments that resonate deeply with me. When I read a book, I usually do so very quickly, and then, if I like it, I'll reread it right away. But when I read State of Wonder, I had to slow way down to relish the astonishing vividness and flow of Patchett's writing -- and when I finished, I decided to wait for awhile to have the pleasure of reading it again. Like her other books, this story is both political and personal, environmental and human -- but it's her extraordinary gift for language that astounds me and for which I am envious.

I don't suppose authors have the time or desire to read criticism of their work once it has flown from them into the world: But if you ever read this, Ms. Ann Patchett, please know that this incredibly beautiful book of yours touched the heart and head of another of your fellow human beings.

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