Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese

Shiva and Marion who are identical twins.  Their mother a nun, and their father the only surgeon who both work in a small hospital in Ethiopia.

Their mother dies during childbirth, when the resident OB/GYN isn’t in residence.  It is their father who needs to get the babies out of their mother as time is ticking away, she is in real trouble.  The babies cannot get out on their own; they are stuck.  She is unconscious on the gurney in the middle of the operating theatre they both work in.  He loses his nerve as he is about to start.  He’s just realized that he loves her as much as he has loved his mother who died when he was a child.  He cannot bear to lose another he has loved so much and for such a short period.

They love one another, but have never told each other their feelings.

When the OB/GYN finally appears, she delivers the babies; but their mother cannot be saved.  The father of the boys runs out of the theatre, never to be heard from or seen again.  His grief is too much.

As the boys grow up, as twins they are inseparable.  They have this unknown language that they only know that they speak to one another.  The twins are raised by the OB/GYN and another doctor named Ghosh.  The country is on the brink of a revolution.  Life goes on.

Between the patients from all walks of life, dignitaries, the boys grow up around the hospital, everyone thinks they are just part of the building.

As the boys grow and mature, a girl they both know tears them apart as they study.  Marion wants to be a doctor as his adopted parents, Shiva is more of a wild flower, exploring in his own way becoming interested in medicine on his own.

As the revolution and coup become at an all time high, Marion is rushed out of the country to America.  Shiva stays home and becomes interested in specialized surgery for women that have vaginal fistulas.  He becomes famous for his work in it.

As Marion completes his residency in New York, he comes across a name that shakes him to the core.  Dr. Stone – his father.

Admist the circus of being a resident as well as all the work that it entails, Marion goes in search of his father.  Once they meet, why he left, the fear, the love, the regrets are still present, but forgiveness is also there.

Medically intricate, full of love, the unbreakable connection that twins possess, except for one thing – death.

This story of loving, and longing with be with me for a long time.  It was throughly exact, engaging, from a place that is exotic to an urban metropolis will have you tearing up as it did me when I was reading.

Random House / Vintage

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