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Ethiopian Fiction – Doctor and Nun

vergheseLet me entice you with yet another book that I cannot put down despite the busy schedule toward the end of the semester. Cutting For Stone is the debut novel of Dr. Abraham Verghese, who is a Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University. Set in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, in 1954, Sister Mary Joseph Praise died in childbirth. She is survived by twin sons Marion and Shiva. Rumor has it that Dr. Thomas Stone for whom Sister has worked as an assistant in the surgery room is the father of the twins.

The novel is narrated by one of the twin brothers. The gripping read takes opens in a mission hospital in Ethiopia and travels on a boat out of India to Yemen, then an inner-city hospital in New York City, and finally back in Ethiopia to complete the epic story of the twin brothers who seek to unlock the life of their mother.

“We two unnamed babies, newly arrived, were without breath. If most newborns meet life outside the womb with a shrill, piercing wail, ours was the saddest of all songs: the stillborn’s song of silence…The legend of our birth is this: identical twins born of a nun who died in childbirth, father unknown, possibly yet inconceivably Thomas Stone. The legend grew, ripened with age, and, in the retelling, new details came to light. But looking back after fifty years, I see that there are still particulars missing.” [98]

The novel is scheduled to release by Knopf in February 2009. Dr. Verghese will kick off his 14-city book tour in our very own Palo Alto in the Bay Area.

4 Responses

  1. Wow, I’m hooked with just that small appetizer paragraph.

    A fascinating premise for a novel, and I can’t wait to read it.

  2. I agree–the excerpt has a beauty and rhythm that intrigues and content that makes you curious!

  3. Wonderful excerpt — I’m intrigued now so will put this one on the radar!

  4. if comes tomoro

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