Read My Mind

Read My Mind


The Secrets of Ann Patchett’s ‘State of Wonder’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Ann Patchett’s latest novel, “State of Wonder”, is one of the summer’s bestselling books and it is getting rave reviews as well. So I have a confession. I have never read an Ann Patchett book before this summer. I now know why. I read “State of Wonder” because it was assigned reading for a course I am taking. And I guess I am in the minority of the reading world, because I didn’t exactly love it ; in fact, I found it a bit of struggle to finish it. But like I said, it seems I am in the minority on that.
However, I attended a luncheon  recently where Ann Patchett was the speaker and special guest. I have to say she is now one of my favorite authors I have ever heard speak on books, writing books and any number of other topics. She was charming and witty- a pure delight. Her insights into “State of Wonder” actually motivated me to finish the book – the last 70 ages or so were spellbinding – if not controversial.

Here are a few fun facts I learned about the writing of  one of this  summer’s hottest novels.

The name of the Amazon tribe in Patchett’s book, the Lakeshi,  is named for her favorite breakfast cereal, Kashi. Patchett explained at this luncheon that her dislike of people thinking they can just google anything on the internet and find the answer inspired her to create the fictious name. 

Patchett swore she doesn’t want Hollywood to come calling and snatch up the rights to this book, yet she  still admitted she sent a copy of the book to Meryl Streep. ( She would make a good Marina!)

 Patchett did go to the Amazon and she did have an encounter with an anaconda while on a boat. and according to Patchett, anacondas really, really stink.

The character of Easter also has a fun creation story. Someone asked Patchett to include a deaf or mute character in a book without having the book be about the deafness. She also simply wanted to name a character after a holiday as another author had done with a character named Valentine.  She decided St. Patrick’s Day was a bad idea and went with Easter.

So… now I am wondering how many Beliefnet readers out there have read  “State of Wonder’ and what do you think of it? Or did my bits of trivia make you consider adding it to your summer reading list?



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