From GoodReads: Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.
My review: In retrospect, this book has many characteristics that make it a not-my-cup-of-tea read. Middle-aged lead characters with accompanying issues, aimed at an audience of older (i.e., adult) readers, set in an adult world of business, grown-up relationships, and dreams decades in the making. Perhaps this is why I often found the plot slow; if I didn't have all the time in the world right now to read, it would have probably taken me longer than my usual reading time to finish the book. Still, the slowness is not tedious, and I did enjoy the novel. Patchett's writing is excellent, and once Marina finally gets into the jungle, the scientific and anthropological facets to the story are interesting. At times the experiments for the new drug seem a bit odd and science fiction-y, but they continue to blend with the story rather than stick out from it. For those of you who are past your teenage years and enjoy reading literary fiction, I highly recommend this book.
As a side note, I love the cover. It looks like calligraphy, which beautiful drawings along the border.
My ARC of State of Wonder was received from the publisher, Harper. It went on sale June 7, 2011.