This is the story of two twin brothers, Marion and Shiva, who are adopted and growing up in Ethiopia in the 1960s-80s as their country faces many political upheavals. Their adoptive parents are both doctors and the twins grow up surrounded by hospitals and patients, and often with medicines and treatments extremely limited. They both become involved in the medical world and eventually learn about their birth parents. Their lives take them on different paths and their relationship with one another is not always close, yet they are always connected to each other.

I like the style of writing in this book; I found it drew me in and made me feel involved in the characters. I did, however, feel slightly frustrated with how the stories are interspersed and that a dramatic occurrence was often not referred to again for many chapters eg, we learn of Sister Mary Joseph facing death on the operating table but then the reader is led away to Dr Hemlatha on a plane and all the details of her life, when I was wanting to continue with the drama unfolding around the Sister.

I very much enjoyed the book, to my surprise. I did feel apprehensive that it would all be about distressing things such as war and famine and not contain anything positive or uplifting at all, but that wasn’t the case. There are difficulties to be faced at times in Ethiopia but the author doesn’t labour the point or make the reader feel uncomfortable.

I like the character of Marion and how he conducts his life; trying to be true to himself and his conscience, and determined to emulate and be faithful to his ‘father’ Ghosh, and his determination to be a surgeon even though he is trying to make his way in the foreign country of America. When Marion was ill, I actually found myself reaching for the tissues.

The book is well written with believable characters and is an epic piece of work, and I much admire the research the author must have done to produce such a detailed book. It struck me that this was a story that was a huge and very important one for the author to tell, and this passion and dedication comes through the pages. Definitely a remarkable book.

Cutting For Stone (Paperback)

By (author): Abraham Verghese

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed. To begin at the beginning...
"This huge, rich, ambitious tapestry of a novel makes insomnia a pleasure...tremendous" (The Times)"There is a gravity and beauty in his writing that sets it apart from much contemporary fiction" (Daily Telegraph)"Tremendous, compassionate, exuberant" (Independent)"The reader feels there really is something at stake - birth, love, death, war, loyalty" (Guardian)
"Tremendous, compassionate, exuberant" (Michael Bywater Independent)
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