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Ernest Borgnine

'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett

'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett

Prize-winning author Ann Patchett ("Bel Canto," "Truth and Beauty," "The Magician's Assistant") once confessed that the single most important artistic influence on her work is "The Poseidon Adventure," the 1933 Paul Gallico potboiler that was made into a classic 1970s action-adventure-disaster movie featuring Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine fighting their way out of a luxury liner capsized by a 100-foot tidal wave. Patchett explained, "['The Poseidon Adventure'] was the first time I saw something that made me think, Oh, that's what plot is: you're going along, it's fine, then everything turns upside down; people band...