A year ago my niece Anna recommended strongly that I read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I ordered it immediately because I almost always likes the books she suggests. I was talking to her again a few weeks ago and she asked if I had ever gotten around to reading the book. I hadn't. It had sat on one of my to-read shelves taunting me this entire time. "Read it next," Anna demanded. And so I did.
Do you know the feeling of spending a significant portion of time reading a rather long novel and when you reach the conclusion you are actually sad to say goodbye to the complex and interesting characters that inhabit the story? I experience this phenomonon with the occasional book. This is exactly how I felt about Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
Set in the exotic and unusual locale of Ethiopia, Cutting for Stone tells the story of Marion and Shiva Stone--twin brothers. Their mother, a nun, dies during childbirth and their father, a surgeon, flees abandoning them to the other doctors and staff of the Missing Hospital in Ethiopia.
As the boys learn and grow and develop their own talents in medicine, the novel builds on their relationship and what it means to be family and what it means to be an individual. The characters are at once real, sympathetic and admirable.
I'm coming late to the table with this novel and I can only echo the sentiments shared by many others. This book is fabulous, intelligent, thrilling and riveting. It is a rare gem of literary genius.