Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cutting For Stone

Cutting For Stone
Abraham Verghese
658 pages
Publisher: Vintage
Source: Kroger impulse buy

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

So rarely do books make me cry, but this one threatened to a few times near the end, and then finally succeeded.  It wasn't a book I would have picked up for myself; the title didn't sound right to me and after reading the back I wasn't sure I would like it, but there was so much hype about how amazing this book is that I just had to give it a try, and sure enough, it was amazing.

In Ethiopia, identical twin brothers, Shiva and Marion, were born conjoined at the head.  After a violent birth, the story goes on to follow the brothers as they grow up, one is betrayed by the other, they grow apart, and then in the end, grow back together in a deep and serious way.

The theme of medicine is carried throughout the book.  I have no medical training, at all, so some of the vocabulary was lost on me, but over all didn't hinder my understanding of the book.  It was interesting to read about medicine in an African country as well as the differences between American hospitals.

The bond between twins was another theme.  As a twin myself I was interested to read for this aspect, though I am a fraternal twin and my brother and I don't have nearly the close bond that Marion and Shiva have.  Bigger than that, however, is the overwhelming theme of family.  It doesn't matter who gives birth to you, your family are those people who raise you and stand by you through thick and thin.

Full of rich characters and a sturdy plot, Cutting For Stone was a rare five star read for me.  On a side note, even though Tsige wasn't a major character in the novel, I would love to read a novel about her that takes place at the same time, including the loss of her baby and her travels to New York.  I think that would be a powerful story to tell.

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