State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
In her stunning new novel, State of Wonder, Ann Patchett captures the claustrophobic nature of the dense jungle where danger--in the form of poisonous insects and snakes--is present at every turn and a person’s daily existence depends only upon a few bare essentials.
Dr. Annick Swenson has spent a major portion of her life in the Amazon researching potential medical cures. When she and her mentor discover a tribe whose women can regularly conceive children well into their seventies and beyond, Vogel Pharmaceuticals agrees to fund the ground-breaking study. But Dr. Swenson goes rogue, cutting off all communication with the company executives. To make matters infinitely worse, no outsider has the slightest idea where in the jungle the research compound is located.
Vogel recruits staff member Dr. Anders Eckman to track down Swenson and gauge the status of her work. With a wife and three young boys, Eckman is less than thrilled, but looks at the excursion as an opportunity to pursue his bird-watching hobby. Unfortunately, before one crisis is solved, another surfaces—Dr. Eckman quickly contracts a fever and succumbs in the jungle.
Marina Singh is tapped by Vogel’s CEO to follow in her coworker’s footsteps. Although she’s surprised that she would be asked to undertake such a dangerous mission, she finally agrees to go out of respect for Eckman’s wife, Karen…who irrationally feels her husband is still alive.
Marina’s discomfort in her new environment disappears as she gradually goes “native” and civilization slips further from her grasp. Not only need Marina fulfill her obligations to Vogel, but she also must confront a humiliating secret which has plagued her since medical school. Coincidentally, the only other person aware of her long-held secret is Dr. Annick Swenson.
Be prepared for some late nights as Patchett has written a thrilling new book that's absolutely impossible to put down.