I'll come right out and say it: I've never really liked an Ann Patchett book before, and it's not for lack of trying. I know, I know, *everyone* loved _Bel Canto_ and cried and cried at the ending. Not me. _Patron Saint of Liars_? Yawn. _The Magician's Assistant_? Meh. But this, this is really something. And it's not because I love the main character and want her to be my best friend. No. I think she is clueless and thick. I think if she were such a smartypants scientist, she wouldn't ask so many stupid questions. But, even with all this, the story is so good, it overcame my indifference to Marina and blazed right ahead into four star, even five star territory! Go figure.