Praise for State of Wonder Shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, ' One of Patchett's great talents is her. State of Wonder. View PDF. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction book | Fiction | May US & Canada → HarperCollins (Ed. Jonathan Burnham). Read State of Wonder Full Book PDF. Award-winning "New York Times"- bestselling author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, The Magician's Assistant) returns with a.

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State Of Wonder Pdf

Ann Patchett raises the bar with State of Wonder, a provocative and ambitious novel set deep in the site Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. Read "State of Wonder A Novel" by Ann Patchett available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. “Expect miracleswhen you read . ruthenpress.info?token=b14ce02&%3Boperation= register&source=ruthenpress.inforation

Also available as: Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for download. Award-winning, New York Times bestsellingauthor Ann Patchett returns with a provocative andassured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the siterainforest. Those in Peril. Wilbur Smith. The Cat's Table. Michael Ondaatje.

Others had walls and walls of mice or monkeys or dogs. This particular lab Marina had shared for seven years with Dr. It was small enough that all Mr. Fox had to do was reach a hand towards her, and when he did she took the letter from him and sat down slowly in the gray plastic chair beside the separator. At that moment she understood why people say You might want to sit down. 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.

Anders Eckman, tall in his white lab coat, his hair a thick graying blond. Anders father of three. Anders not yet fifty. Her eyes went to the dates—March 15th on the letter, March 18th on the postmark, and today was April 1st. Not only was he dead, he was two weeks dead. The obscurity of the Amazonian tributary where Dr. Swenson did her research had been repeatedly underscored to the folks back in Minnesota Tomorrow this letter will be handed over to a child floating downriver in a dugout log, Anders had written her.

I cannot call it a canoe. Surely someone down there had an Internet connection. Had they never bothered to find it? She could not bring herself to say his body. Anders was not a body. Vogel was full of doctors, doctors working, doctors in their offices drinking coffee.

The cabinets and storage rooms and desk drawers were full of drugs, pills of every conceivable stripe. Surely if they knew where he was they could find something to do for him, and with that thought her desire for the impossible eclipsed every piece of science she had ever known.

The dead were dead were dead were dead and still Marina Singh did not have to shut her eyes to see Anders Eckman eating an egg salad sandwich in the employee cafeteria as he had done with great enthusiasm every day she had known him.

Fox lifted his glasses, pressed his folded handkerchief against the corners of his eyes. She did not read it aloud. Jim Fox, The rain has been torrential here, not unseasonable yet year after year it never ceases to surprise me. It does not change our work except to make it more time-consuming and if we have been slowed we have not been deterred. We move steadily towards the same excellent results.

I write with unfortunate news of Dr. Eckman, who died of a fever two nights ago. Given our location, this rain, the petty bureaucracies of government both this one and your own , and the time sensitive nature of our project, we chose to bury him here in a manner in keeping with his Christian traditions. I must tell you it was no small task.

As for the purpose of Dr. I will keep what little he had here for his wife, to whom I trust you will extend this news along with my sympathy. Despite any setbacks, we persevere. Annick Swenson Marina started over at the top. When she had read it through again she still could not imagine what to say.

Clearly the paper had been wet at some point and then dried again. She could tell by the way it was puckered in places, it had been carried out in the rain. Swenson knew all about the relationship of paper and ink and rain and so she cut in her letters with a pencil of hard, dark lead, while on the other side of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Karen Eckman sat in a two-story brick colonial thinking her husband was in Brazil and would be coming home as soon as he could make Dr.

Swenson listen to reason. Marina looked at the clock. They should go soon, before it was time for Karen to pick the children up from school.

Three little Eckmans, three boys, who, like their mother, did not know enough to picture their father dead. For all that loss Dr.

Swenson had managed to use just over half the sheet of paper, and in the half a sheet she used she had twice thought to mention the weather. The rest of it simply sat there, a great blue sea of emptiness. He put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed, and because the blinds on the windows that faced the hall were down she dropped her cheek against the top of his hand and for a while they stayed like this, washed over in the palest blue fluorescent light.

It was a comfort to them both. Fox and Marina had never discussed how they would conduct their relationship at work. Fox was the CEO of Vogel. Marina was a doctor who worked in statin development. They had met, really met, for the first time late the summer before at a company softball game, doctors vs.

Fox came over to compliment her pitching, and that compliment led to a discussion of their mutual fondness for baseball. Fox was not a doctor. He had been the first CEO to come from the manufacturing side. When she spoke of him to other people she spoke of Mr. When she spoke to him in front of other people she addressed him as Mr. The problem was calling him Jim when they were alone. That, it turned out, was a much more difficult habit to adopt. Fox said. She raised her head then and took his hand in her hands.

Fox had no reason to wear a lab coat. Today he wore a dark gray suit and striped navy tie, and while it was a dignified uniform for a man of sixty, he looked out of place whenever he strayed from the administrative offices.

Today it occurred to Marina that he looked like he was on his way to a funeral. Anyway, the letter had said he died of a fever, not a snake bite. There were plenty of fevers to be had right here in Minnesota. Fox said without kindness in his voice. Anders had wanted to go to the Amazon. That was the truth. What are the chances a doctor who worked in statin development would be asked to go to Brazil just as winter was becoming unendurable?

He was a serious birder. Every summer he put the boys in a canoe and paddled them through the Boundary Waters with binoculars and notepads looking for ruddy ducks and pileated woodpeckers. The first thing he did when he got word about the trip was order field guides to the rain forest, and when they came he abandoned all pretense of work.

He put the blood samples back in the refrigerator and pored over the slick, heavy pages of the guides. He showed Marina the birds he hoped to see, wattled jacanas with toes as long as his hand, guira cuckoos with downy scrub brushes attached to the tops of their heads.

State of Wonder: Ann Patchett: Bloomsbury Paperbacks

A person could wash out the inside of a pickle jar with such a bird. He bought a new camera with a lens that could zoom straight into a nest from fifty feet away. It was not the kind of luxury Anders would have afforded himself under normal circumstances. At the bright burst of the flash, Marina raised her head from a black-necked red cotinga, a bird the size of a thumb who lived in a cone-shaped daub of mud attached to the tip of a leaf.

Fox had tapped for the job. These things take finesse. Fox said that himself. That leaves me with a lot of daylight hours. Swenson was an issue. There was an address in Manaus but apparently it was nowhere near the station where she did her field research; that location, she believed, needed to be protected with the highest level of secrecy in order to preserve both the unspoiled nature of her subjects and the value of the drug she was developing.

She had made the case so convincingly that not even Mr. Fox knew where she was exactly, other than somewhere on a tributary off the Rio Negro. How far away from Manaus that tributary might begin and in which direction it ran no one could say. Worse than that was the sense that finding her was going to be the easy part. Marina looked at Anders straight on and again he raised his camera. Fox decided to send? Swenson had liked him on the one day she spent at Vogel seven years ago, when she had sat at a conference table with Anders and four other doctors and five executives who made up the Probability Assessment Group to discuss the preliminary budget for the development of a program in Brazil.

Marina could have told him Dr. Swenson had no idea who he was, but why would she have said that? Surely he knew. Marina saw the look of gratitude when she took down her coat that was hanging by itself on the rack by the door, but she would never have sent him there alone. The task was one for military chaplains, police officers, people who knew something about knocking on doors to deliver the news that would forever derail the world of the people who lived inside the house.

Anders is dead. Marina was going along to help Mr. Fox, and she went out of respect for her dead friend, but she had no illusions that she was the person Karen Eckman would want to break the news. It was true that she knew Karen, but only as well as a forty-two-year-old woman with no children knows a forty-three-year-old woman with three, as well as any single woman who works with the husband ever knows the wife who stays at home.

Marina understood that Karen had made a point of knowing her even if Karen had not consciously mistrusted her. Karen engaged her in conversation when it was Marina who answered the phone in the lab. She invited her to their Christmas open house and the Fourth of July barbeque, where she got Marina a glass of tea and asked her thoughtful questions about protein research and said she really liked her shoes, a vaguely exotic pair of yellow satin flats a cousin had sent her from Calcutta years ago, shoes she loved herself and saved for special occasions.

When Marina in turn asked about the boys, what they were doing in school, whether or not they were going to camp, Karen answered the questions offhandedly, offering up very few details. Marina knew that Karen was not afraid of her.

In truth, after two glasses of rummy punch at the last Christmas party, she had wanted very much to lean against Karen Eckman in the kitchen, put an arm around her little shoulders, bend her head down until their heads were almost touching.

How she wished now that she had been drunk enough to confide. Had she ever done that, Marina Singh and Karen Eckman would be very good friends indeed. Outside the snow had been falling in wet clumps long enough to bury every blade of new spring grass. The crocuses she had seen only that morning, their yellow and purple heads straight up from the dirt, were now frozen as solid as carp in the lake. The tiny blooms of redbud made burdened shelves of snow.

Fox and Marina pushed forward through the icy slush without a thought that they were for the very first time in their relationship leaving the building together. They made the long walk from the southern quadrant of the Vogel campus to the parking lot nearly a quarter mile away.

Fox said once they were in his car, the snow brushed off and the defroster turned to high. I told him when he left to take his time, to get the point across, but I had thought we were talking about a week, maybe two at the outside. I never considered him staying for more than two weeks.

The company had wanted him to go sooner but Christmas was nonnegotiable for the Eckmans. She had shown Mr. He had mostly talked about Manaus and then about the birding trips he had taken in the jungle with a guide.

To her, Anders had spoken mostly of rain. If Mr. Fox had also received letters from Anders, and she was sure he had, he never mentioned them.

Not three months. Fox let his eyes trail off across the whitened landscape that smeared beneath the windshield wipers. That was his only job. No one seriously thought the outcome of telling Dr. Swenson she needed to bring her research back to Minnesota would be Dr. Swenson packing her lab into boxes and coming home—not Anders, not Mr.

Fox, not Marina. But now Anders was dead and the notion of success was reduced to sickening folly. Just the thought of Dr. Swenson gave Marina the sensation of a cold hand groping for her heart. It is fifteen years ago and she is in the lecture hall at Johns Hopkins in a seat safely on the aisle of a middle row, and there is Dr.

Swenson pacing in front of the podium, talking about the cervix, the cervix, with a level of intensity that elevates to such ferocity that none of them dare to look at their watches. Even though Marina is a second-year resident she is attending a lecture for third-year medical students because Dr.

Swenson has made it clear to residents and medical students alike that when she is speaking they should be in attendance. But Marina would not dream of missing a lecture or leaving a lecture over a matter as inconsequential as time.

She is riveted in place while the slide show of atypical cells on the high wall before her flicks past so quickly they nearly make a moving picture. Swenson knows everything Marina needs to know, answers the questions Marina has not yet formulated in her mind. A tiny woman made tinier by distance fixes one hundred people to their seats with a voice that never troubles itself to be raised, and because they are all afraid of her and because they are afraid of missing anything she might say, they stay as long as she chooses to keep them.

Marina believes the entire room exists as she exists, at the intersection of terror and exaltation, a place that keeps the mind exceedingly alert. Her hand sweeps over page after page as she writes down every syllable Dr.

Swenson speaks. It is the class in which Marina learns to take notes like a court reporter, a skill that will serve her for the rest of her life. It strikes Marina as odd that all these years later she still remembers Dr. Swenson in the lecture hall. K aren and Anders Eckman lived on a cul-de-sac where the neighbors drove slowly knowing that boys could come sledding down a hill or shooting out between the shrubbery on a bike. Fox pulled the car to the curb. Marina and Anders must have made about the same amount of money.

She made regular contributions to charity and let the rest of her money languish in the bank while Anders paid for this house, piano lessons, teeth straightening, summer camp, college accounts. How had he managed, three sons and a wife, and who would pay for this life now that he was dead? For a while she sat there, imagining the various birthday parties and Christmases, endless pictures of boys with presents, knotted ribbon and tornup gift-wrap in piles of red and silver and green, until finally the snow laid a blanket over the windshield and cut off the view.

Fox said, as if this meant maybe they should leave as well. Karen shook her head. I was going to swing by the store on the way to pick up the boys but I can do that later. Come inside. Marina had been to the house before but only for parties when every room and hallway was pressed full of people. Empty she could see how big the place was. It would take a lot of children to fill in the open spaces. Marina turned to put the question to Mr. Fox and found that he was standing almost directly behind her.

Fox was not taller than Marina. It was something he joked about when they were alone. Through the big picture window Marina saw a jungle gym standing on a low hill in the backyard, a rough fort gathering snow on its slanted roof. Pickles leaned up against Marina now and he batted her hand with his head until she reached down to rub the limp chamois of his ears.

The dog would have to stand in for their minister if they had one. The dog would have to be Anders. She glanced back at Mr. Fox again. Every second they were in the house without telling her what had happened was a lie. But Mr.

Fox had turned towards the refrigerator now. He was looking at pictures of the boys: the two youngest ones a couple of washed-out towheads, the older one only slightly darker. He was looking at a picture of Anders with his arms around his wife and in that photo they were not much older than children themselves.

There were pictures of birds, too, a group of prairie chickens standing in a field, an eastern bluebird so vibrant it appeared to have been Photoshopped. Anders took a lot of pictures of birds. The flush that had been in her cheeks from the momentary burst of cold had faded. Of course she would know. Marina wanted so badly to put her arms around Karen then, to give her condolences.

She was ready for that if nothing else. The words for how sorry she was ached in the back of her throat. This was the moment for Mr. Fox to tell the story, to explain it in a way Marina herself did not fully understand, but nothing came. Fox had given himself over to the refrigerator photos. He had his back to the two women, his arms locked behind, his head tilted forward to a picture of a common loon. Karen turned her eyes up, shook her head slightly.

He sounded like he was half out of his mind. He sat. I mean, the birds, he says the birds are spectacular, but the rest of it is making him crazy, the leaves and the vines and all of that. In one of his letters he said he felt like they were choking him at night. Where Anders grew up in Crookston there are hardly any trees at all. Have you ever been to Crookston?

He used to say that trees made him nervous, and he was joking, but still. I understand why you sent him. Everybody likes Anders.

Fox himself. Surely it was Mr. She pulled out the chair beside her. What rushed before Marina was the inherent cruelty of telling. All the cold that swept through Minnesota came into Karen Eckman and she stammered and shook. Her fingers began to rake at the outside of her arms. She asked to see the letter but then she refused to touch the thing, so thin and blue, half unfolded. She told Marina to read it aloud.

She should have read the first paragraph, as banal as it was. Marina understood that Karen had made a point of knowing her even if Karen had not consciously mistrusted her. Karen engaged her in conversation when it was Marina who answered the phone in the lab. She invited her to their Christmas open house and the Fourth of July barbeque, where she got Marina a glass of tea and asked her thoughtful questions about protein research and said she really liked her shoes, a vaguely exotic pair of yellow satin flats a cousin had sent her from Calcutta years ago, shoes she loved herself and saved for special occasions.

When Marina in turn asked about the boys, what they were doing in school, whether or not they were going to camp, Karen answered the questions offhandedly, offering up very few details.

Marina knew that Karen was not afraid of her. In truth, after two glasses of rummy punch at the last Christmas party, she had wanted very much to lean against Karen Eckman in the kitchen, put an arm around her little shoulders, bend her head down until their heads were almost touching. How she wished now that she had been drunk enough to confide.

Had she ever done that, Marina Singh and Karen Eckman would be very good friends indeed. Outside the snow had been falling in wet clumps long enough to bury every blade of new spring grass.

The crocuses she had seen only that morning, their yellow and purple heads straight up from the dirt, were now frozen as solid as carp in the lake. The tiny blooms of redbud made burdened shelves of snow.

Fox and Marina pushed forward through the icy slush without a thought that they were for the very first time in their relationship leaving the building together. They made the long walk from the southern quadrant of the Vogel campus to the parking lot nearly a quarter mile away.

Fox said once they were in his car, the snow brushed off and the defroster turned to high. I told him when he left to take his time, to get the point across, but I had thought we were talking about a week, maybe two at the outside.

I never considered him staying for more than two weeks. The company had wanted him to go sooner but Christmas was nonnegotiable for the Eckmans. She had shown Mr. He had mostly talked about Manaus and then about the birding trips he had taken in the jungle with a guide. To her, Anders had spoken mostly of rain. If Mr.

Fox had also received letters from Anders, and she was sure he had, he never mentioned them. Not three months. Fox let his eyes trail off across the whitened landscape that smeared beneath the windshield wipers. That was his only job.

No one seriously thought the outcome of telling Dr. Swenson she needed to bring her research back to Minnesota would be Dr. Swenson packing her lab into boxes and coming home—not Anders, not Mr. Fox, not Marina. But now Anders was dead and the notion of success was reduced to sickening folly. Just the thought of Dr. Swenson gave Marina the sensation of a cold hand groping for her heart. It is fifteen years ago and she is in the lecture hall at Johns Hopkins in a seat safely on the aisle of a middle row, and there is Dr.

Swenson pacing in front of the podium, talking about the cervix, the cervix, with a level of intensity that elevates to such ferocity that none of them dare to look at their watches. Even though Marina is a second-year resident she is attending a lecture for third-year medical students because Dr. Swenson has made it clear to residents and medical students alike that when she is speaking they should be in attendance. But Marina would not dream of missing a lecture or leaving a lecture over a matter as inconsequential as time.

She is riveted in place while the slide show of atypical cells on the high wall before her flicks past so quickly they nearly make a moving picture.

Swenson knows everything Marina needs to know, answers the questions Marina has not yet formulated in her mind. A tiny woman made tinier by distance fixes one hundred people to their seats with a voice that never troubles itself to be raised, and because they are all afraid of her and because they are afraid of missing anything she might say, they stay as long as she chooses to keep them. Marina believes the entire room exists as she exists, at the intersection of terror and exaltation, a place that keeps the mind exceedingly alert.

Her hand sweeps over page after page as she writes down every syllable Dr. Swenson speaks. It is the class in which Marina learns to take notes like a court reporter, a skill that will serve her for the rest of her life.

It strikes Marina as odd that all these years later she still remembers Dr. Swenson in the lecture hall. K aren and Anders Eckman lived on a cul-de-sac where the neighbors drove slowly knowing that boys could come sledding down a hill or shooting out between the shrubbery on a bike. Fox pulled the car to the curb. Marina and Anders must have made about the same amount of money. She made regular contributions to charity and let the rest of her money languish in the bank while Anders paid for this house, piano lessons, teeth straightening, summer camp, college accounts.

How had he managed, three sons and a wife, and who would pay for this life now that he was dead? For a while she sat there, imagining the various birthday parties and Christmases, endless pictures of boys with presents, knotted ribbon and tornup gift-wrap in piles of red and silver and green, until finally the snow laid a blanket over the windshield and cut off the view.

Fox said, as if this meant maybe they should leave as well. Karen shook her head. I was going to swing by the store on the way to pick up the boys but I can do that later. Come inside. In the kitchen everything was neat: Marina had been to the house before but only for parties when every room and hallway was pressed full of people. Empty she could see how big the place was. It would take a lot of children to fill in the open spaces. Marina turned to put the question to Mr. Fox and found that he was standing almost directly behind her.

Fox was not taller than Marina. It was something he joked about when they were alone. Through the big picture window Marina saw a jungle gym standing on a low hill in the backyard, a rough fort gathering snow on its slanted roof. Pickles leaned up against Marina now and he batted her hand with his head until she reached down to rub the limp chamois of his ears.

The dog would have to stand in for their minister if they had one. The dog would have to be Anders. She glanced back at Mr. Fox again. Every second they were in the house without telling her what had happened was a lie.

But Mr. Fox had turned towards the refrigerator now. He was looking at pictures of the boys: He was looking at a picture of Anders with his arms around his wife and in that photo they were not much older than children themselves.

There were pictures of birds, too, a group of prairie chickens standing in a field, an eastern bluebird so vibrant it appeared to have been Photoshopped. Anders took a lot of pictures of birds. The flush that had been in her cheeks from the momentary burst of cold had faded. Of course she would know. Marina wanted so badly to put her arms around Karen then, to give her condolences.

She was ready for that if nothing else. The words for how sorry she was ached in the back of her throat. This was the moment for Mr. Fox to tell the story, to explain it in a way Marina herself did not fully understand, but nothing came. Fox had given himself over to the refrigerator photos. He had his back to the two women, his arms locked behind, his head tilted forward to a picture of a common loon.

Will Perilous Trek to Amazon Reveal Heart of Darkness?

Karen turned her eyes up, shook her head slightly. He sounded like he was half out of his mind. He sat. I mean, the birds, he says the birds are spectacular, but the rest of it is making him crazy, the leaves and the vines and all of that. In one of his letters he said he felt like they were choking him at night. Where Anders grew up in Crookston there are hardly any trees at all. Have you ever been to Crookston?

He used to say that trees made him nervous, and he was joking, but still. I understand why you sent him. Everybody likes Anders. Fox himself. Surely it was Mr. She pulled out the chair beside her. What rushed before Marina was the inherent cruelty of telling. All the cold that swept through Minnesota came into Karen Eckman and she stammered and shook.

Her fingers began to rake at the outside of her arms. She asked to see the letter but then she refused to touch the thing, so thin and blue, half unfolded. She told Marina to read it aloud. She should have read the first paragraph, as banal as it was. It sounded like some thrifty telegram. The bellows of her lungs strained for nothing.

There was no air in the kitchen. Someone needs to be here. Karen, look at me, you have to tell me who to call. You have to let me call someone. The two of them were alone in this. She slipped down from her chair and sank to the floor to cry against the retriever, wrapping her grief around his sturdy torso while the poor animal shivered and licked at her arm.

What idiots they were thinking they knew what they were doing! Marina had had to announce deaths to family members in the hospital when she had been a resident, not often, only if the attending was too busy or too imperious to be bothered.

She simply had to raise her head and there was a nurse who knew more about how to hold them and what to say. Behind her there were charts full of phone numbers that had been compiled in advance. Available clergy were listed for any denomination, grief counselors and support groups that met on Wednesdays. The most she had been asked to do was write an order for a sedative.

What about those boys standing in front of the school now, the snow growing into piles on their shoulders while they waited for their mother? How could Marina have forgotten to account for them? All of those people at the Christmas party, the women in reindeer sweaters, the men in red ties, the people Marina had seen laughing in this kitchen only a few months ago, leaning against each other with their whiskeyed eggnog, they were desperately needed now! There was no waiting out the situation.

Giving it time would only mean the Eckman boys would start to panic as a teacher led them back into the school building and told them to wait inside.

Marina stood up from the floor, though in her memory she had never sat down on it. She went to the phone, looking for an address book, a Rolodex, anything with numbers. Johnson, Linn Hilder. This is what it feels like when the house is burning down, Marina thought. As much as she wanted to help the wife of her dead friend, she wanted to get out of that house.

She picked up the phone and dialed the name on the bottom of the list. She had to take the phone out of the kitchen in order to hear the woman on the other end. Linn Hilder was the neighbor down the street who happened to have two boys who were friends with the Eckman boys. Why, Linn Hilder had leaned out her car window not twenty minutes ago and asked them if they needed a ride home and they had said no, Mrs.

Linn Hilder was herself now crying as convulsively as Karen. Call the school. Go to the school and get the boys. Fox, who had miraculously stepped forward in her brief absence. M arina and Mr.

From the moment Mr. It was an accident as much as being pulled under by the current in the site River would have been an accident. But as they stepped into the smack of frigid wind with only Pickles there to see them out, she wondered if the people inside thought of Mr.

Fox as culpable. The days were still short and the sun was already low. Certainly without Mr. Fox in the picture, the Eckman boys would be doing their homework or rolling up a snowman in the backyard. Anders would be looking at the clock in their office, saying he was hungry, his body already leaning towards the door in their thriving, living world. Fox in the greatest hour of their grief, the blame might still come to them later on, after time and sleep had untangled their thinking.

She certainly blamed him for leaving her alone to tell Karen, and for not holding her arm as she carefully maneuvered her way down the unshoveled walk to the car. Did she blame him for sending Anders to his death in Brazil? She struggled with the handle on the passenger-side door that was half frozen down while Mr.

She brushed the snow off the window with her hand and then rapped her bare knuckles against the glass. He leaned over and pushed the door open. She fell onto the leather seat just as she might have fallen out on the pavement in front of the house had she been forced to wait there another minute. Her hands were shaking and she pinned them between her knees.

All she wanted in the world was to go home and sit in a hot bath. It had stopped snowing but the sky hanging over the prairie was swollen and gray.

The interstate, once they found it, was nothing but a beaten strip of badly plowed blacktop between two flat expanses of white. Fox did not take Marina back to her car. He was driving instead to St. Paul, and once in St. Paul to a restaurant where in the past they had had remarkable luck not running into anyone they knew.

When she saw where he was going she said nothing. It was well after five when they slid into a booth in the back of the room. When Marina ordered a glass of red wine, she realized she wanted it even more than the bath. The waitress brought her two and put them side by side on the table in front of her as if she might be expecting a friend. She brought Mr. Fox two glasses of scotch over piles of ice. She waited. For a long time he waited with her. He would be sixty-one in a month but the events of the day had put him safely beyond that.

In the dim light of the low-hanging swag lamp with a faux Tiffany shade he could have been seventy. He sat hunched, his shoulders pressing towards one another in the front, and his glasses dug a small red groove into the bridge of his nose.

His mouth, which in the past had been generous and kind, now cut across his face in a single straight line. Marina had worked at Vogel for more than six years before they ever came to this restaurant. It was plenty of time to think about Mr. Fox as her employer, her superior. For the last seven months they had made an attempt to redefine their relationship. Fox said, his voice turned sullen. It was not a situation that Anders was meant to solve.

I saw Anders as the person who would set things in motion. He would explain to Dr. Swenson that it was essential that she wrap up her research and move directly, with the help of other scientists, into the developmental phase of the drug.

Fox was too old for her. That was the purpose of the trip. We needed more information. Anders Eckman? How was he qualified for that? His job was to explain to Dr. Swenson the importance of her finishing her portion of the project.

Fox stopped and shook his head. The list was too long. How is that possible? Her money is deposited monthly into an account in Rio as per our original agreement.

We sent the whole thing down on a barge, freezers and tin siding, roofs and doors, more generators than you could imagine. We sent everything to set up a fully operating lab and she met the barge in Manaus and got on board and took it down the river herself. None of the workers were ever able to remember where they dropped things off. She might develop a drug for the purposes of her own curiosity or the interest of science, but it would never occur to her that her work was the property of the people who signed the checks.

Anyone who had spent a thoughtful hour in her presence could have figured that much out. Cut the money off and wait until she comes out. Fox, who had been holding the remaining and mostly full glass of scotch an inch off the table, now set it down.

The look on his face meant to say that she understood none of it. She wanted to sink into the red wine, to swim in it.

Swenson or Vogel or drug development anymore. Fox said in a tone that was free of concession. It was this terrible light that made him look old, the scotch and the heavy weight of the day. She wanted them to leave now, and when they got back to Eden Prairie she would take him home with her.

She blamed him for nothing. She leaned across the table of this dark, back booth and took his hand. I sit down and put it all on paper. He was affable and bright, and he seemed to want to go, which counted for a lot. To have been sent off on a mission you were never right for.

To be regarded after your death as an error of judgment. Marina felt a small jolt in the hand he was holding, as if something sharp had briefly stabbed through him and into her. She took back her hand and rubbed it quickly. I should have asked you in the first place. I told them I had asked you and you had refused.

It was selfishness on my part. She was sure she knew the answer to that one. He had a fever, he was sick. If you were sick you would have the sense to get on a plane and come home. It was bad enough that he was dead without it being his fault. I know her thoughts on reproductive endocrinology and to a lesser extent gynecological surgery, and not even her current thoughts on either of those things, her thirteen-year-old thoughts.

Swenson know her? She saw Dr. Swenson raise her eyes to the lecture hall, sweep past the faces of all the students, all the residents, year after year after year. There could be hundreds of them in a single class and over the years that quickly added up to thousands, and yet for a brief time Dr.

Swenson knew Marina Singh alone. And me. We would be strangers to one another. It was the truth in one direction. He had laid it all out for her and yet she had missed his point entirely. With his long legs and the short length of floor in the lab he maneuvered around the room easily with his heels. The rest of the body goes along its path to destruction while the reproductive system stays daisy fresh. This is the end of IVF. This is ovum in perpetuity, menstruation everlasting. Annick Swenson.

Imagine someone offering you the equivalent of Lost Horizon for American ovaries. You can always have children. She was forty-two. She was in love with a man she did not leave the building with, and while she had not broached the subject with Mr.

Improbable, maybe, but not out of the question. She picked up the hefty report. Anders looked at the page she was looking at as if this information was printed there. From the very start she remembered wanting no part in this. The phone rang, someone came in, it was over. Marina had not been asked to sit in on the review board meetings or to meet Dr. Swenson on the occasion of Dr. There was no reason she would have been. Obligations on review board committees were rotating and in this particular instance her number had not come up.

There was no reason Mr. Fox would have ever known about the connection between herself and the chronicler of the Lakashi people except that clearly at some point Anders must have told him. Marina took a moment. She saw her teacher down in the pit of the lecture hall, observed her at a safe and comfortable distance.

A suicide in every class? Fox could face dinner. They finished their drinks, two apiece, and drove back to the parking lot at Vogel, where Marina got in her car to go home.

There was no further argument, no plans for the site or the evening ahead. They had both been certain that the answer would be to go to bed together, hold each other through the long night as a means of warding off death, but there in the parking lot they split apart naturally, both of them too tired and too fundamentally alone in their thoughts to stay with the other.

Marina nodded and she kissed him, and when she was home and in bed after the bath she had so desperately wanted, he did call and said good night, but only good night, with no discussion of the day. When the phone rang again, five minutes or five hours after she had turned out the light, she did not think it would be Mr. Her first startled thought was that it was Anders.

It had something to do with a dream she was having. Anders was calling to say his car had broken down in the snow and he needed her to come and pick him up. Marina reached beneath her to try and straighten out the nightgown that had worked its way into twisted rope around her waist.

She picked up the little clock on her bedside table whose tiny hands glowed green in the dark, 3: Everyone in the house is sound asleep. This time she would be ready, she would know what to do. Swenson would return the things that she deemed important, which is to say she would set them aside and forget them. It would be safer. I imagine a lot of things get lost in the mail.

How long would they have waited passively for news of Anders while they went about their lives? She was trying to pull herself up from sleep by using the bridge of her nose. I need more than that. At some point probability becomes so great it eclipses the need for proof, although maybe not if it was your husband. Fox is going to send someone down there.

She could make out the shapes in her bedroom, the dresser, the lamp. I promise. The phone was quiet for a long time. We have to give Mr. Fox a chance to find out what he can. That afternoon Marina had thought that Karen would never speak to her again, that she would always blame her for bearing the news.

The fact that she was the person Karen Eckman called in the middle of the night felt something like forgiveness, and for that forgiveness she was deeply grateful. She watched the glowing second hand pass the three, the six, the nine.

He was holding a letter. He was looking down river for the boy in the dugout log. He was dead. Marina might not have a great deal of faith in Dr. Swenson but Dr. He said she was a teacher of yours.

Marina was from Minnesota. No one ever believed that. At the point when she could have taken a job anywhere she came back because she loved it here. This landscape was the one she understood, all prairie and sky. She and Anders had that in common. Marina made an appointment with an epidemiologist in St. Paul and got a ten-year vaccine for yellow fever and a tetanus shot.

State of wonder

She got a prescription for an antimalarial, Lariam, and was told to take the first pill immediately. After that she would take one pill a week for the duration of her trip, and then one a week for four weeks after her return home. Her worries were centered around plane tickets, packing, English-Portuguese dictionaries, how much Pepto-Bismol would be enough.

From time to time she thought about the upper quadrant of her left arm, which, since those two shots, felt like both needles had broken off their respective hypodermics and were now lodged in her humerus like a pair of hot spears.

She allowed these more practical concerns to stand temporarily in place for her thoughts of Anders and Karen and Dr. Swenson, none of whom she could manage at the moment. In the process of leaving for the site, she had inadvertently solved a mystery that at present was the farthest thing from her mind: What had been wrong with her childhood? And then the unexpected answer: She knew this one by heart.

It was the same dream that had marked the entirety of her youth, intensely present and then gone for years, returning at the very moment she was careless enough to forget about it. Standing there beside her bed in the dark, the sheets soaked, her pillow and nightgown soaked, she came to the clear and sudden realization that she had taken Lariam as a child.

Her mother never told her but of course she must have, starting the dosage as prescribed, the first pill taken a week before departure, then every week while away, then for four weeks after they returned. Pills meant it was time to see her father as surely as digging through desk drawers to find the passports and dragging the suitcases up from the basement. India pills, her mother had called them. Come and take your India pills. Marina had only the most cursory memories of living in an apartment in Minneapolis with both of her parents but she could summon them back without any effort.

Look, there is her father standing at the front door shaking the snow from the black gloss of his hair. There he is at the kitchen table writing on a tablet, a cigarette in the saucer beside him burning slowly to ash, his books and papers arranged in such precise order that at dinner time they had to sit on the floor in the living room and eat off the coffee table.

There he is at her bed at night, pulling the covers beneath her chin, tucking them in on either side. She nods her head against the pillow, the only part of her free to move, and gazes at his lovely face only inches above hers, until she can no longer keep her eyes open.

She longed for him. Her mother often said that Marina was smart in just the way her father was smart, and that explained why he was so proud that she excelled in the very things that interested her the most: The checkers in the grocery store, the children at school, the doctors and the bus drivers all asked her where she was from. There was no point in saying, Right here, Minneapolis, though it was in fact the case.

Being the child of a white mother and foreign graduatestudent father who took his doctoral degree but not his family back to his country of origin after he was finished had become the stuff of presidential history, but when Marina was growing up there was no example that could easily explain her situation. In time, she came to tell herself that she practically was from India because after all her father was from there and lived there and she had visited him there every two or three years when enough money had been saved.

These dramatic trips were discussed and planned as great events, and as Marina marked off the months then weeks then days on her calendar what she was longing for was not only her father but an entire country, that place where no one would turn around and look at her unless it was to 35 StateOfWonder-UK.

But then, a little less than a week before she left, the dreams would begin. They are walking up Indira Gandhi Sarani towards Dalhousie Square or following Bidhan Sarani in the direction of the college where her father is a professor. The farther they go along the more people start to come out of buildings and alleyways.

Maybe the power has gone out again and the trams have stopped and all the fans in all the kitchens have stopped so that people who were in their apartments have come out to the street because the crowd is pushing in closer and closer as more people are joining in along the edges.

She reaches out her hand and pats a cow. She can hear the persistent music of jewelry weaving through the shouted conversations, bangle bracelets stacked halfway to the elbow and anklets covered in tiny bells, earrings that function as wind chimes. She can still see the little shoe flashing yellow on the hard packed ground not two steps behind them in the crowd. She dives for her shoe but the crowd has already swallowed it, and as quickly as she turns back the crowd has swallowed her father as well.

She calls for him, Papi! And then Marina is alone somewhere in the sea of Calcutta, folded inside the human current of chattering Hindi which she does not understand, her body swept along while she cries, at which point she would wake up sweating, nauseated, her black hair soaked to the skull.

From then on she had the dream every night: She had it in the flat her father rented for her and her mother not far from his office at the college so that they would not disturb his second wife, his second children.

They were separated getting onto a bus, her father let her go while they were swimming in the sea at a crowded beach. After so many dreams that were so much alike she became terrified of sleep. She was terrified the whole time they were in India, so much so that at the end of every trip both of her parents agreed that it might all be too much for her.

Once they were back at home, after a week or two, the crowds that haunted her sleep would begin to dissipate, thin into smaller groups, and then break apart altogether. Slowly, Marina would forget them, and then her mother would forget, and within a year it would once again be decided that she was a much bigger girl now and maybe they should start thinking about a trip to India sometime in the future.

Had he lived and she had gone again, she would have been old enough to look into the medication herself, although it was true that a patient was less likely to question a set of symptoms she had always accepted. She had grown up believing that India gave her nightmares, seeing her father gave her nightmares, when all along it was the antimalarial.

The drug, not the circumstances of her life, destroyed her chance to be with her father. You had such a terrible reaction. But you could have explained it to me when I was ten, at least when I was fifteen. The end of the world had it killed you.

I would have thought they would have come up with a better drug to take by now. It was the most important question and yet it only now seemed to have occurred to her. It had never actually happened, this physical wrenching apart, and still her subconscious clung to the fear.

Things that had happened to Marina, the memories she saw as the logical candidates for nightmares, never entered her sleeping life, and she supposed that for this she should be grateful. In her own home she got up and turned the lights on in the bathroom.

Her hands were shaking and she ran a wet washcloth over her face and neck, careful not to look at herself in the mirror.

It was surprising to discover that understanding the origin of her dreams offered her exactly no comfort at two in the morning. Fox on the day of the heavy snow. Now that she was leaving in the morning, both of the women thought it was important to say goodbye, though for different reasons. It was after dinner when Marina came by and the lengthening day had just gone dark. The boys had brushed their teeth and were watching television in the den. They were now allowed a show before bedtime every night, a childhood luxury previously restricted to weekends.

Marina said hello to them when she first came in and they barely turned their heads towards her, the youngest two muttering hello in 39 StateOfWonder-UK. Fox had made a mistake in telling Marina that she had been the first choice to go find Dr. Swenson instead of Anders. She now saw the entire world in terms of alternate scenarios. The boys in their sweatshirts and flannel pajama pants slumped into the endlessly long corduroy couch. The smallest, palest boy lay over Pickles like a rug. They were bound to the television screen as if by wires.

He giggled for a second and then stopped. Marina thought of that muddy ground where Anders was buried and reached for her glass. Did Anders ever tell you I majored in Russian literature in college? Then we could talk anywhere. Marina followed her inside. Even the pantry was neat, bright boxes of cereal standing together in a line of diminishing height.

Karen returned to her point, her voice lowered. Do you ever wonder when you stopped being able to hear everything? Karen looked blank for a minute as if part of her had walked out of the room and then, just as quickly, returned. Karen nodded and pulled one of those same blue envelopes out of the pocket of her sweater.

She set it face up on the palm of her open hand and together they stared at it like a thing that could at any minute unfold a pair of wings. Karen Eckman. Eden Prairie. Marina liked to tell him he was the only doctor she ever knew who wrote like a Catholic school girl. He was sicker then. He was dead, he was sick, he was not so sick. The story rewound until the only conclusion to draw would be that Anders gets better.

He leaves the jungle and returns to Manaus. He flies from Manaus and starts again from home, only this time they know enough to refuse to let him go. Marina wondered how many letters were still out there and when they would drift in, their postal route having mistakenly sent them on a detour through Bhutan. She looked to Marina instead. She wanted to ask if there was anything about Dr.

Swenson and where they were working. She wanted to know where in the jungle she should look. She handed Marina the letter. February 15th Would it alarm you too much to tell you I am often alarmed in this place? What you deserve is not honesty but the sort of husband who is capable of putting up a Brave Front. Then you would have to get on a plane and hire a boat and a guide and come down here to find me because you would know having never seen a single Brave Front out of me in your life how unimaginable things must be.

I am not brave. I have a fever that comes on at seven in the morning and stays for two hours. Most days now I have a headache and I worry that some tiny siteian animal is eating a hole through my cerebral cortex, and the only thing I want in the world, the only thing that would give meaning or sense to this existence, would be 42 StateOfWonder-UK.

You would put your hand in my hair, I know you would do that for me. Such is your bravery, such is my good fortune. Damn these ridiculous sheets of paper.

I pray like a babbling fundamentalist now that I am in Brazil and tonight I will pray that the letter carrier sends this to you so that you can feel the full weight of my love.

Kiss the boys for me. Kiss the inside of your wrist. She put her hand on a shelf near several boxes of microwave popcorn to steady herself. It was incalculably worse than the letter from Dr. This was Anders announcing the onset of his own death, his voice so clear and plain he might as well have crowded into the pantry with them and read it aloud. The letter from Dr. Swenson could have gotten lost, the one saying he was dead. Hope is a horrible thing, you know.

Hope is like walking around with a fishhook in your mouth and somebody just keeps pulling it and pulling it. No one would do that. Nothing would be lovelier than a lie now, a single dose of possibility. She said that Anders was dead. Karen put her hands in her pockets, looked to the very clean wood plank floor. She nodded. They were mostly about birds. I showed them to Mr. For the future. The canned green beans and bottled cranberry juice and packets of instant oatmeal in sweet, assorted flavors were beginning to press towards her, taking up more and more of the space.

She gave herself a moment in the enormous darkness to shake off the small, bright closet she had been in. She wondered if there would be some time in her life, ten years from now, or twenty, when she would not be thinking about that letter. Probably not. How gladly she would go to Brazil to find Anders! But her job was to confirm his death and finish his work.

Marina filled her lungs with frozen air and smelled both winter and spring, dirt and leftover snow with the smallest undercurrent of something green. That was another thing she and Anders had in common: She wanted to develop a fear of flying that would keep her from ever going farther than the Dakotas in her car. Instead of growing up inquisitive and restless, she had developed a profound desire to stay, as if her center of gravity was so low it connected her directly to this particular patch of earth.

The frigid winds raced across the plains with nothing in their path to stop them but Marina, who stood there freezing for one more minute before finally getting into her car. Back at home she found Mr. Fox waiting in her driveway, engine running and heater on. When he saw her he rolled down his window. Given the circumstances, the board had wanted Marina to have a complete and detailed account of their expectations for her trip.

Did she understand exactly what was expected of her? Fly to Manaus, go to Dr. Marina was scrambled by the lack of sleep and agitated by the Lariam. She found herself sitting through those meetings and listening to nothing, moving her Vogel Pharmaceutical ballpoint in designs that resembled cursive writing. As with so many other critical matters in her early life, she had been protected from the seriousness of the situation.

She had been told only that he was ill and he hoped that she could visit soon. Given that information she had thought there was plenty of time, when in fact there had been none at all. She was thinking of her mother who had been asked not to attend his funeral and so waited in the hotel room in deference to the second wife. She was thinking of Anders and his birding guides and wondering if Dr.

Swenson would have kept them. Anders would be so happy if she made the effort to look for some birds while she was there. She would use his binoculars to find them. Surely when Dr.

Swenson said in her letter that she was keeping his few possessions this would include his binoculars. And his camera! She would use his camera to take pictures of birds for the boys. Fox asked. Marina in the dark, in the cold of early April, nodded her head and he followed her to the door of her house and stood very close behind.

He shifted to the left and then slightly to the right and then stopped and pressed himself against her back while she dug for her keys in her purse.

He was trying to shield her from the wind. Was she crying for Karen and her letter? For Anders while he wrote it, or for those pajama-clad boys? Was she crying because of the Lariam, which made her cry at newspaper stories and radio songs, or because she really would have given almost anything to let this cup of Brazil pass from her?

She kissed him and held on to him as if a great crowd of people were trying to pull them apart. The cold and the wind did not matter. Nothing mattered. They had played this thing all wrong. They had made terrible decisions about waiting to see where their relationship would go, about not being together openly. The problem, he said, was his age. He was too old for her. Even when they were lying in bed, his arm beneath her shoulders, her head on his chest, he would talk about how he would die so many years before her and leave her alone.

It would be better if she found someone her own age now and not throw away these good years on him. You could put it off for a little while. But coming into her house on this night she thought about those conversations in a different light, and so they kissed each other while thinking of her death rather than his. Fox was sorry, genuinely sorry, that he had ever asked Marina to go and he told her so. Marina said she was sorry she had agreed. She had succeeded in life because she had so rarely declined any request that was made of her, how would the site be different?

They banged their legs against the coffee table as they tried to move through the house without turning on lights. They pressed against a wall in the dark hallway. They fell into her room, into her bed, and stayed there until they had exhausted themselves with every act of love and anger and apology and forgiveness they could think of that might stand in for what they did not have the words to say.

It was after all of that, when they were finished and had fallen asleep, that Marina started screaming. It was a while before she could explain herself. As much as a minute passed before she could be fully awakened and so kept on in the world of her dream in which screaming was the only possible option. When she opened her eyes Mr. Fox was there and he was holding her upper arms and looking like he was about to start screaming himself.

She almost asked him what was wrong, then she remembered. There was no saliva in her mouth and without the lubrication the words were sticking on her teeth. She covered her face with her hands and thought she could hear the sweat running down her neck.

Her flight from the St. Paul—Minneapolis airport left at six forty-five in the morning and she still had a little last minute packing to do.

She wanted to be sure to water the plants and take all the perishables out of the refrigerator. She was awake now, wide awake. She would just stay up. Fox, who was crouched down in front of her, put his hands gently on her knees.

She told him the same thing she used to tell her mother: When Mr. Fox drove her to the airport it was twenty degrees.

Marina clicked off the radio before they had the chance to announce the windchill. The dark of morning seemed deeper than anything night had been able to come up with. They were addled by their decisions, their lack of sleep. When he pulled into the lane for departing flights it was five fifteen in the morning. She shook her head. Anyway, you need to get home, get ready for work.

She wanted to stay with him forever. He pulled the zipper back and took out a complicatedlooking phone. They say you can make a call from anyplace in the world on this thing. I programmed in my phone numbers.

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