Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


This long saga gives you glimpses into some amazing worlds; most interestingly, twentieth century Addis Ababa.  The food, climate, and politics are a backdrop or sometimes a key part of this story which begins with the death in childbirth of a nun that no one knew was pregnant.  Even the father of the twins was surprised and he flees the scene, leaving the mission in Addis Ababa without its surgeon.  And on we go with the high drama of lovingly drawn characters in the world of mostly Indian doctors in an alien culture. 

The amazingly detailed descriptions of medical conditions and operations sometimes seem to drive the drama.  The pioneers of some areas of medicine are given homage and the Emperor Haile Selassie is an important part of this story.  The lives of the twins are the center of the story and aspects of their twin-ness is explored and is key to the tale. 

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