I've missed you in the days since I've been gone! So much to tell, and yet so little. I've had all these little thoughts that I've meant to post, but no time at all--and now is no exception, since my power cord is on my desk at work and I'm a ticking time bomb here.
I'm hip-deep in State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, which is quite interesting. I thought about "wonderful" or "entertaining," but neither of those words really describes it (and besides, isn't "wonderful" a little punny?). It's meticulous and dreamy and all about being poised and not quite knowing what to do. Things are happening half a world away, in a place where you don't speak the language, up the river in the jungle. The world is not quite as sensible as it seems.
Being a book whose plot revolves entirely around the idea of a cult of personality and a character whose sheer magnetism leaves those around her inadequate and confused in her wake, it's interesting that I wouldn't call the book a character study at all. The characters are realistically drawn and very well-portrayed, but in the artless way of true talent. This is not a book about observing one individual person as she exists distinct from the rest of humanity. It's more about the states (ha! title again!) that people experience. It's not about Karen, it's about grief. It's not about Marina, it's about inertia. It's not about Dr. Swenson, it's about ambition and focus and all that that excludes.
I want to be more detailed, but Mike's keyboard is tiny and some of his keys feel like they're in the wrong place. (Fun fact: my typing was timed at about 86 words per minute today.) I'll have more to say as I get deeper into the book--as soon as we get into the actual jungle I'm sure the humidity alone will cause me to have strong opinions that I need to shout from the rooftops. Books with intense weather patterns always confuse my internal thermostat. And it's raining! So Brazilian!