Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Author Description: Sister Mary Joseph Praise, a devout young nun, leaves the south Indian state of Kerala in 1947 for a missionary post in Yemen. During the arduous sea voyage, she saves the life of an English doctor bound for Ethiopia, Thomas Stone, who becomes a key player in her destiny when they meet up again at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa. Seven years later, Sister Praise dies birthing twin boys: Shiva and Marion, the latter narrating his own and his brothers long, dramatic, biblical story set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Ethiopia, the life of the hospital compound in which they grow up and the love story of their adopted parents, both doctors at Missing.
Amazon Review: I’ve not read a novel wherein medicine, the practice of it, is made as germane to the storytelling process, to the overall narrative, as the author manages to make it happen here. The medical detail is stunning, but it never overwhelms the humane and narrative aspects of this moving and ambitious novel. This is a first-person narration where the first-person voice appears to disappear, but never entirely. And what terrific characters–even the most minor players are given a full history. There is also a sense of great foreboding; by the midpoint of the story, one dreads what will further befall these characters. Cutting for Stone is a remarkable achievement.–John Irving
My Review: I have had this book on my list for months, courtesy of a recommendation from my mom, but just couldn’t sit down to start it. The first few chapters are filled with a lot of detail, but it somehow captures your attention immediately. I loved the combination of Ethiopian history, medical focus, and family dynamics. I fell in love with the characters immediately and was emotionally motivated to keep reading the next chapter (or 4) all in one sitting. The bond of the two brothers is moving and the family life is so real you can see their love over every natural hurdle. You won’t regret this read, it’s a fantastic and one-of-a-kind story.
Next up… Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (for bookclub)
**I was not asked to, or compensated for, writing this book review.