Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cutting for Stone: a book of emotional and cultural depth.


I loved this book! Only missed a 5* rating because Mr Verghese did not know how to use apostrophes.. Hed and Shed in place of "He had" or "she had" got very wearisome after a while, but other than that, a wonderfully meaty tale!!

Reading like a memoir, but really a novel of astounding depth and breadth, Marion and Shiva are conjoined twins, fruits of a deep love only once consumated between a nun and the Surgeon she met on the voyage from India to Ethiopia. 

It is at once desperately bleak and dark and yet hopeful and  ultimately a tale of Redemption. Set against the struggles in Ethiopia and Eritrea in the 70s and 80s, it is a time and part of the world I had never really sought  in books, but through the sights and sounds of a field hospital I could almost smell the dust and cow dung, blood and waste matter. It is the descriptiveness that really lifts this story and it put me in mind of the equally beautiful works of Khaled Hosseini.

The sections on the reality of Fistulas for women in Africa left me in tears.

At times violent and unrelenting and at others amusing and tender, I "lived" with the twins as they too became medical men  like their distant father and begin drifting into and out of each other's lives and fates.

It was a book that I read slowly because there was so much to devour on every page. Twists and turns of the coin of fate and examination of faith in all it's forms... Marvellous!!

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