Ann Patchett and her state of wonder

Word count: 150 words

Reading time: half a minute

I appreciated many of the fine novels by Ann Patchett, particularly, Bel Canto and deeply disliked only one, Run. I felt lukewarm, however, about her most recent book, State of Wonder. The plot was moderately engaging, and the writing moderately good. But even though the book offered a rich sense of place (the Amazon basin) I just couldn’t get really excited about it.

It did have one sentence, however, that I very much admired, and it is my sentence for the week:

“There was inside of her a very modest physical collapse, not a faint, but a sort of folding as if she were an extension ruler and her ankles and knees and hips were all being brought together at closer angles.”

Isn’t that just a marvellous visual image? Ann Patchett imagines the human being as extension ruler. I also like the rhythm of the sentence and the contradictory juxtaposition of the word “modest” with “physical collapse.”

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