State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, is a beautiful painting of a book, about a pharmaceutical researcher named Dr. Singh whose lab partner of the last 7 years has just died in the Amazon Jungle. They receive news on a light strip of blue envelope. Anders Eckman was a father of three, a husband, a typical Midwesterner, blond haired, an inside person who loved birds. Apparently he had died of a fever, said Dr. Annick Swenson in the letter. She was funded by Vogel, Dr. Singh's pharmaceutical company, to develop a fertility drug using the tree bark of the Lakashi tribe. Anders had gone down to the Brazil on assignment from Vogel, to find out about Dr. Swenson's progress. Their company was running out of money and patience on the project (it had been several decades). They needed a direct line of communication, and they needed to know when they could expect their drug to hit the market. Anders, thinking it would be a nice opportunity to see some rare birds, volunteered to go.
But now Anders is dead.