This summer has flown by. How are we already in September? Weren’t we just in mid-July? It’s been a busy season with several work trips that have taken me to Minneapolis, NYC, LA, and Mexico. With these new responsibilities at my job and different trips with clients, I have had the opportunity to read more while on all of these different flights, which has proven to be a great de-stressor and break from my daily schedule. After finishing Sarah’s Key, I picked up Cutting for Stone at an airport bookstore. While I hadn’t heard much about this book, I saw that a few of my friends had given it great reviews on Goodreads. If you don’t have this app, I highly recommend it, it has become my go-to tool whenever I’m looking for a new book to read.
When I first started reading Cutting for Stone, I had no idea I would enjoy this book so much. At the top level, this story is about twin brothers named Marion and Shiva (and is narrated by Marion) who are born to a nun and British surgeon in an Ethiopian hospital compound. After their birth which killed their mother, they become orphans once their father flees the country and are raised by another doctor in the community. This book follows the lives of these two brothers and how they are affected by family ties, love, their fascination with medicine, and the political turmoil of their country. As the two brothers become adults, Marion moves to America where he becomes a surgeon while Shiva stays with their surrogate family in Ethiopia and is a doctor at the medical compound they grew up in. They are eventually reunited, but I don’t want to give anything away.
What I loved most about this book was the character development. Verghese’s writing not only brings the twins Marion and Shiva to life in a beautiful way, but each character has their specific and intentional role to play and all work through their own individual struggles while always moving the plot forward. While certain parts were hard for me to read, whether because they were heartbreaking or just too medically detailed for my squeamish stomach, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and by the time I had about 1/3 left, I couldn’t put it down and was thankful for the flight to Mexico so I could finish reading in one sitting. Cutting for Stone is definitely one of the best-written books I have read in a while and one that I would happily pass on to any friends who want to read it.