Monday, April 4, 2011
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
Powerful, thought provoking story of twin boys growing up in Ethiopia while the country was on the brink of a revolution. Relationships are the core of this novel. I was intrigued by the author's ability to show how the twins were emotionally connected while exploring their relationships with their parents, extended family and friends. Another relationship that begs for attention is that of the brothers, Marian and Shiva and Genet (daughter of their housekeeper). This novel is quite a remarkable reading experience but a bit marred by the tedious medical detail,which in some cases requires the reader to have a very strong disposition. Nevertheless, this novel is a four star given the fact that the author crafted such a memorable cast and provides such a powerful story of the Ethiopian existence. I feel this story is extremely close to the writer's heart if not taken from his own personal experience!!