Thursday, 5 April 2012

An Amazonian Wonder

Dr. Annick Swenson is a scientist researching an Amazonian tribe where women stay fertile for their whole life. She is being sponsored by a drug company who want reports of her progress & are failing to get them. A fellow scientist, Anders Eckman, is sent to see what is happening . Then a letter arrives from Dr. Swenson announcing that Anders has died in the jungle. Pressurised by her boss & begged by Anders' widow, his colleague Marina Singh reluctantly sets out for the Amazon to find Dr. Swenson & discover what happened to Anders.

I do not like jungles, humidity, things with too many legs, things that slither & things that lurk about waiting to bite you. This novel is full of those things & it has scientists! I would never have picked this up in a bookshop after reading the plot synopsis. Initially, I did think that Mrs W. & I were going to have our second Orange Prize long list disagreement as she thoroughly enjoyed the book & has flagged it as a strong contender for the short list.
Well, having almost given up in the early chapters, I have ended up agreeing with her. Despite the nasty setting, the bitey things, the thoroughly unpleasant & (in my opinion) more than a little deranged Dr. Swensen; the book delivers my number one must have, a rattling good tale. It's mysterious, exciting & twists deliciously to spice up the ending.
Any author who can make me like a novel which had started off by flagging just about every "why I am never going to read this" item on my list has got to be good. Give it a go & thank you Mrs W. for the lend.


  1. Well, you were brave to carry on reading despite those first chapters. I can't do that, if I don't enjoy the first few I tend to give up by the end of the second chapter. Maybe I've missed more than one good book by doing this but I just can't help it!

  2. Ah, but I'm in competition with Mrs W. to read the whole long list, & I wasn't going to give up on a book that she'd finished!

  3. Shortlisted. Mrs W. really liked this one, I wasn't so keen but excellently written.