Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder talks of a death that occurs on the very first page. Dr. Anders Eckman, a research scientist for the Vogel Corporation, was sent to Brazil to obtain information on the whereabouts of Dr. Annick Swenson and the progress she has made in the development of a new drug. One that would significantly increase the number of years a woman would remain fertile. How, why, or even when he died is not known and what is known makes little sense.
Dr. Annick Swenson, head of the project, is presumed to have all the answers, but seems unwilling to share them. In fact, she is completely unwilling to have people locate her for months at a time, since contact with the outside world only serves to obstruct her progress.
Who is to be sacrificed next and sent to live in the Amazon along with the poisonous insects, dangerous reptiles and malaria infested swamps to uncover both the truth about Eckman’s demise and the advancement of Dr. Swenson’s research? Is there something going on in the depths of the jungle that Dr. Swenson is deliberately hiding? A reason for her to refuse to even inform the CEO funding the project of her location and progress, ridding herself of having a phone to prevent disruption? Dr. Swenson wasn’t always a scientist, but once a renowned gynecologist who mentored many young residents, one of which is about to once again meet up with her and revisit her past.
This book provides a look into the mindset and personality of someone driven and possessed by scientific goals to the point of rendering herself a guinea pig. It addresses the hypnotic pull that lures some scientists into obsession. A world of self experimentation and immersion into Amazon tribal cultures extremely foreign and bizarre to us.
A mystery from the get go, this book has you taste both the fear and wonderment of the Amazon.