Take note… Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (published by Vintage) is one of the best books I’ve read all year, and I’ve read some amazing books. It’s the story of Shiva and Marion Stone, twins whose parents are an Indian nun, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, and British surgeon Thomas Stone. Their mother dies in childbirth and their father flees the country leaving Shiva and Marion to be adopted by Hema, the gynecologist who delivered them, and Ghosh, a surgeon in residence at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (It’s really Mission Hospital, but how it ends up being called Missing Hospital is a story all on it’s own.) The book spans decades (46 years and 4 months), and takes the reader from Addis Ababa to New York and back again. Quite naturally I guess, the twins have a shared fascination with medicine and this is one of the themes of the book. It’s also about love and hate, belonging and longing, history and revolution. It is a grand book, and Verghese has pulled it off magnificantly. There are so many interesting characters and sub-stories to this book that I can’t even begin to write about them. His description of how the meskel flowers turn the hillsides into gold on page 1, and how “It was Matron’s intent that Missing resemble an arboretum, or a corner of Kensington Gardens, or Eden before the Fall.” set the stage for the reader’s imagination to fall victim to the well crafted, very intriguing, really well written 667 pages to follow. Verghese is himself a doctor so the medical facts are intricate and really fascinating, and I can only imagine the research and amount of info on Ethiopia he had to sift through to cull everything into this really, really well written story that will stay with you long after you’ve read it. Now, the hard part is finding something to read after this. ***** for this book!
Archive for September, 2011
Anita Rau Badami’s new book, Tell it to the Trees, will be released in mid September. I really, really liked her last book, Can You Hear the Nightbird Call, so I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her new one.