State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. Harper, 2011.

I can TOTALLY see this book as an action-adventure movie, with all the jungle sound effects!

We are asked to suspend disbelief as an incredible story unfolds. It begins with an innocuous attempt by a pharmaceutical company to get a status report from its non-communicative researcher deep in the Amazon jungle, and escalates into ever more complex wrinkles involving a death, lost luggage, stonewalling gatekeepers, an indigenous deaf child, trees that impart lifelong fertility, and human drug testing.

Patchett's language is vividly descriptive, and just enough of her characters' back-stories is given to explain their actions in the novel. Except Mr. Fox, an officer of the pharmaceutical company. For me, he remained an enigma to the end, and the one unresolved thread, among the many threads of the story. There was something slightly ominous about the company's interest in and management of the research that was never fully explained. All in all, a very satisfactory read!