CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese
“A good story about flawed people” is a simple, concise but understated way to describe this tale of love abandonment, betrayal and redemption. It begins with the birth of twins to a beautiful Indian nun and a brilliant, but brash surgeon in an Ethiopian hospital for the poor. The mother, who kept her pregnancy secret, dies at childbirth and the father, devastated by the tragedy, disappears. The twins, Marion and Shiva, are raised by two Indian doctors. The story is told by Marion, who must escape his homeland after finishing medical school because of a false report of his involvement in a political uprising. While working in New York he meets his past and must confront issues that have haunted him his entire life. The story is long and includes thorough back stories about key characters. For me this adds much to its depth and atmosphere, but readers who are looking for a plot-driven story may be put off by the detail. The charm for me lies in the relationships, interesting characters and cultural nuances found in the Ethiopian-Indian way of life. I was sad when the book ended – my highest praise.