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Cutting for Stone


Cutting for Stone Cover



Author Q & A

Q: Your previous two books are non-fiction, but you’ve said that you have always thought of

yourself as a fiction writer first. How so?

A: Fiction is truly my first love. To paraphrase Dorothy Allison, fiction is the great lie that tells the

truth about how the world really lives. It is why in teaching medical students I use Tolstoy’s The

Death of Ivan Ilych to teach about end-of-life, and Bastard out of Carolina to help students really understand child abuse. A textbook rarely gives them the kind of truth or understanding achieved in

the best fiction.

One of my first published short stories was “Lilacs,” in which the protagonist has HIV. Its

appearance in The New Yorker in 1991 was a part of what led to my contract to write My Own Country,

a memoir of my years of caring for persons with HIV in rural Tennessee. While writing that book

I found myself living through an intense personal story of friendship and loss that led to a second

non-fiction book, The Tennis Partner. But after that, I passed up on an offer to write a third non-fiction

book. I was keen to get back to fiction, to explore that kind of truth.

Q: In 1990, while practicing medicine, you decided to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and obtain a degree in Fine Arts. What led you to go back to school—particularly for creative writing—while you were in the middle of a successful career as a doctor?

A: At the time I was living in Johnson City, Tennessee, working at a small medical school as an internist

and infectious diseases specialist. Between ‘85 and ‘90, we began to see many HIV-infected

persons at a time when the pundits said AIDS was a big-city disease, and we’d never see it in our

small communities. Soon we had close to 100 patients in a town of 50,000, a mystery I explained in

My Own Country. It was an intense, sad, heartbreaking period because we had no real therapy and

lots of prejudice and hatred, but also lots of courage and heroism. Not having anything by way of

medicine to offer my patients, I began to visit with them at times in their homes. That is when I

found that even when I had nothing to offer, I had everything to offer: It was the distinction between

healing and curing (and the cure was what all of us in Western medicine were obsessed with). I realized

that I could heal when I could not cure, meaning that my presence, my interest and support,

could help the patient and the family come to terms with the illness, come to terms with death.

But by the fifth year of this practice, with little in the way of help, I was getting burned out.

If I wanted to stay in the war against AIDS—and I did—I needed to pace myself, to take a break. I

had been writing short stories and essays as a way of keeping sane during those intense days. So I

decided I would apply to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, send in my two stories, and if they took me,

I would go. If they didn’t take me, I was still determined to take a break and support my family by

working in emergency rooms.

Well, Iowa took me, and I wound up cashing in my 401K plan and giving up my tenured position to drive out there with my wife and two young children. As I look back, I think it was a very selfish thing to put my family through, but it was an act of self-preservation, too—I felt I would implode if I didn’t take a break.

In Iowa, I worked in the University HIV clinic once a week. Other than that and the workshop

that met weekly, my time was gloriously free to read and write. Given my background, this was precious

time—I didn’t think I would ever get time like that again (and I haven’t)—so I worked very hard

for the year and a half it took me to finish. The bills piled up, and when I was done, I needed to get a

regular job again, which is how I landed up in El Paso at Texas Tech’s teaching hospital there. I chose

a place well off the main academic trail because I thought that my nights and weekends would be

mine, no grants to write. That turned out to be true and my first two books were written there.

Q: Was there a single idea behind or genesis for Cutting for Stone?

A: My ambition as a writer was to tell a great story, an old-fashioned, truth-telling story. But beyond

that, my single goal was to portray an aspect of medicine that gets buried in the way television depicts the practice: I wanted the reader to see how entering medicine was a passionate quest, a romantic pursuit, a spiritual calling, a privileged yet hazardous undertaking. It’s a view of medicine I don’t think too many young people see in the West because, frankly, in the sterile hallways of modern medical-industrial complexes where physicians and nurses are hunkered down behind computer monitors, and patients are whisked off here and there for this and that test, that side of medicine gets lost.

So I began with the image of a mission hospital in Africa, redolent with Dettol, the antiseptic of choice of the tropics; I wanted to portray a place so basic, so unadorned, that nothing separates doctor and patient, no layers of paperwork, technology or specialists, no disguising of the nature of the patient’s experience or the raw physician experience. It’s a setting where the nature of the suffering, the fiduciary responsibility and moral obligation to the patient and society are no longer abstract terms. In that setting I wanted to put very human, fallible characters—people like Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Thomas Stone. I wanted the whole novel to be of medicine, populated by people in medicine, the way Zola’s novels are of Paris.

Q: Where does the title “Cutting for Stone” come from?

A: There is a line in the Hippocratic Oath that says: . . . I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom

the disease is manifest . . . It stems from the days when bladder stones were epidemic, a cause of great

suffering, probably from bad water and who knows what else. Adults and children suffered so much

with these—and died prematurely of infection and kidney failure. There were itinerant stone cutters—

lithologists—who could cut either into the bladder or the perineum and get the stone out, but

because they cleaned the knife by wiping it on their blood-stiffened surgical aprons, patients usually

died of infection the next day. Hence the proscription, “thou shall not cut for stone.”

It has always seemed to me a curious thing to say when we recite the oath in this day and age.

But I love the Hippocratic Oath (or oaths, because its origins and authorship are far from clear), and

always try to attend medical school commencement. When the new graduates stand and take the

oath, all the physicians in the room are invited to rise and retake the oath. You see many physician

parents and physician siblings standing as their son or daughter or brother or sister takes the oath. It

chokes me up every time. Not only am I renewing my faith, but I am bursting with pride in seeing my

students graduate—another part of the oath is “to teach them this art, if they desire to learn it; to give

a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my children and to the children

of those who instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law.”

How does all this relate to my novel? It isn’t just that the main characters have the surname ‘Stone’; I was hoping the phrase would resonate for the reader just as it does for me, and that it would have several levels of meaning in the context of the narrative.

Q: Each of the characters in this novel is drawn to medicine in different ways and for different

personal reasons. What drew you to medicine?

A: I was the middle of three sons of Indian parents who taught college physics. My brothers had a precocious ability with numbers, while I had no head for math—or much else in the curriculum. For middle-class Indian parents only three professions exist: medicine, engineering, and law. My older brother announced he was going to be an engineer, which delighted my parents. I felt obliged to proclaim that I intended to be a doctor. I figured that my propensity to fall and bleed, my unseemly interest in witnessing chickens and sheep being slaughtered for the kitchen, and my fascination with watching animals give birth could now be viewed as a form of scholarship. This was my false call to medicine.

My true call to medicine came in the form of a book. By the time I picked up Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham I had already read Lolita and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I was twelve, I think. Maugham’s protagonist, Philip, sets out for Paris to become an artist. Money is tight, and he lives on the brink of starvation, and finally finds he does not have the talent. He is crushed and disappointed but also relieved to have discovered what is not to be his calling. He returns to London and enters medical school. When after years of slogging away he enters the outpatient clinic for the first time, he realizes he has made the right choice. The particular lines that stayed with me, that have haunted me, were: “There was humanity there in the rough, the materials the artist worked on; and Philip felt a curious thrill when it occurred to him that he was in the position of the artist . . .”

The phrase "humanity there in the rough" spoke directly to my twelve-year-old mind. I took it to mean that if one had no God-given talent to be an artist (or mathematician), one could aspire to be a doctor, perhaps even a good one. The beauty of medicine is that it is proletarian, and its prime prerequisite is that you have an interest in humanity in the rough.

Many of us also come to medicine because we are wounded in some way. Thomas Stone is

a great example, but so is Marion Stone.

Q: How has being a doctor influenced you as a writer and vice versa? Do you think practicing one has helped you practice the other?

A: I think sometimes we make too much of the doctor-writer business—it’s in danger of becoming a cliché. I’ve not put MD behind my name on any books, except one that was called “Infections in Nursing Home and Long Term Care Facilities.” Unless I’m writing a diet book or a textbook like the one above, the doctoring seems kind of irrelevant—the writing has to stand on its own, don’t you think? Or else every writer should put their AB, and JD, and MFA and whatnot after their name on the title.

That said, I confess that my love of medicine feeds this book and much of my other writing. There are lots of parallels between writing and medicine. I remember hearing the aphorism “God is in the details” both in medical school and also at the Writers’ Workshop. When we see a patient we take a ‘history’—the word “story” is in there. As a consultant, when I see a patient whom others have seen before me, if I can shed light on the problem it is often because the particular patient story resonates with my repertoire of stories and so I know where it is heading. I have given Ghosh—the internal medicine specialist at Cutting for Stone’s Missing hospital—some of these attributes.

Internal medicine, which is also my field, is so much about details, about tying together disparate

clues to come up with a unifying diagnosis and about close observation. Medicine is full of wonderful aphorisms which I love, like, “beware of the woman with the glass eye and the big liver” (which refers to the fact that melanoma of the eye, a common cause for an eye to be removed, can be followed many years later with liver metastases). And as for metaphors, to list just a few fruit metaphors, we have the strawberry tongue of scarlet fever (which becomes the raspberry tongue the next day), and the cherry red spot in the retina, the peau d’orange appearance of the breast, the melon seed body of TB, the currant jelly stools of intussusception . . . .(It is very revealing that modern medicine with so many new diseases—AIDS, SARS, Lyme—has not to my knowledge in the last fifty years come up with a metaphor as colorful as the mulberry molar or the cracked-pot skull or the saber-shinned tibia. It speaks of a disturbing atrophy of the imagination, an obsession with the science at the expense of the art. If I hear the word ‘evidence-based’ medicine any more, I think I’ll be sick.)

So, to answer your question, being in medicine is helpful, particularly for the novel I chose to write. But it provides no short cuts. Writing is still hard, and the real art is in the revision, the real talent is in having the stamina, in being able to delay gratification over the many years it takes to get it right.

Q: Though you confront serious issues in the novel, there is much humor in it, too. Was it a conscious choice to bring humor in, and if so, why? Levity finds its way into many of the medical

scenes (Ghosh performing a vasectomy, for example); was there an element of wanting to make

medicine less intimidating?

A: The humor surprised me. I didn’t set out to be funny or to inject comedy into the novel. And that’s probably a good thing, because it’s difficult to deliberately try to write humorous stuff.

That said, there are many occasions for side-splitting laughter in medicine, but one has to be careful that the patient never construes this as our being light-hearted about his or her suffering. I’ve drawn on some of my most memorable professors, the ones who told the bawdiest stories that were therefore unforgettable. I so much want to tell my students these stories, but common sense stops me. We’ve become so sensitive.

I once, in print, called the coronary artery bypass operation the great blow-job of American medicine: lucrative for one, satisfying for the other, but biologically a dead end. Many were not amused, let me tell you.

Q: The question “What treatment is administered in an emergency by ear?” is important to many of the characters in this novel. Perhaps you can tell us the correct answer, and also tell us how the answer informs the book.

A: The answer to this trick question that recurs in the book is of course, ‘words of comfort.’ It’s the sort of thing examiners like to ask in the British system, in the places that still have the viva voce—the terrifying oral exams—and that still test physicians on real patients, not make-believe patients. Alas, in America, we are getting so ‘virtual’ that board-certified internists become board-certified by taking a multiple-choice examination. No one really tests that they can feel an enlarged spleen, or diagnose and put together physical signs at the bedside.

‘Words of comfort’ relate to a sense I have that the patient in America is becoming invisible. The patient is unseen and unheard. The patient is presented to me by the intern and resident team in a conference room far away from where the patient lies. The patient’s illness has been translated into binary signals stored in the computer. When we do go to the bedside to make rounds, often physicians are no longer at ease. It is as if the patient in the bed is merely an icon for the real patient, who exists in the computer. But none of these tests done at a distance substitute for being with the patient, for the ‘words of comfort’ aspect of treatment.

When one knows how to look, the patient’s body reveals many things—it is an illuminated manuscript. I am no Luddite and have no illusions that the kind of exam I do is superior to a CAT scan or MRI. But a skilled exam can do two things: first, it can allow us to practice cost-effective medicine by generating a reasonable diagnosis at the bedside and ordering selective tests, rather than the shotgun approach, where we tick off everything that seems remotely interesting on the lab and radiology slips. Secondly, the skilled exam done with courtesy and done well conveys something important about caring and about professionalism to the patient; indeed it is a key component to building a good physician-patient relationship. Particularly in patients with chronic illness, where there are few dramatic interventions that one can prescribe, a good physician-patient relationship can support the patient through the ups and downs of an illness; the physician’s presence, the ‘words of comfort’ aspect, can be therapeutic in itself.

The fact that patients with chronic illness increasingly seek the attention of naturopaths, refelexologists, acupuncturists, and others has a lot to do with the fact that these individuals will spend time and put hands on the patient, where the physician does that infrequently or in a cursory fashion. When your head is wrapped around the latest gene-array test or ‘evidence-based medicine’ (as though what preceded it was witchcraft), then you might underestimate the importance of ‘words of comfort.’

Q: You bring Ethiopia to life so vividly—its contradictions of beauty and poverty. Addis Ababa

(and Missing Hospital) is so much a part of each character though some come to it from other places or leave it for other places. Why did you decide to set much of this novel there? And how do you think the atmosphere of the place affected your life?

A: Even in this era of the visual, I think a novel can bring the feel of a place out better than almost any vehicle. It’s another thing that Somerset Maugham did so well. The few images one sees of Ethiopia are uniformly negative, about war and poverty. I wanted to depict my love for that land and its people, for their incredible beauty and grace and their wonderful character.

I wanted also to convey the loss many felt when the old order gave way to the new. Ethiopia had the blight of being ruled by a man named Mengistu for too many years, a man propped up by Russia and Cuba. My medical school education was actually interrupted when Mengistu came to power and the emperor went to jail. As an expatriate, I had to leave. It was my moment of loss. Many of my medical schoolmates became guerilla fighters, trying to unseat the government. Some died in the struggle. One of them fought for over twenty years, and his forces finally toppled the dictator. Meles Zenaweis, now Prime Minister of Ethiopia, was a year behind me in medical school. I went through hard times because of the disruption, but I eventually finished my medical education in India. But what I went through was nothing compared to what others went through—they were willing to die for their cause.

Q: At the heart of this novel there is a love story—that of Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Dr.

Thomas Stone—which informs almost everything that happens to each character in the book,

and yet one of these characters is dead and one has not been seen by anyone for decades. How did you conceive of their relationship, and how do they exert such force on the novel even though neither is present for the majority of it?

A: Love to me has a quality to it like a trip wire—hence we ‘fall’ in love, instead of simply ‘arriving’

to love. Love comes down to a set of wills trying to match and sometimes mismatching in spectacular fashion; I think all love is unrequited unless we have a clone of ourselves and even then the love

is unrequited. In my day job I see all too often that people’s appreciation of the existence of love, of

the meaning of love, or of the idea that the meaning of life turns out to be love—all these are arrived

at too late, when the love is long lost, or arrived at just before the moment of death. Perhaps what

love seeks is not reciprocity but redemption, the sense that who you are is worthy and was always

worthy of love.

Thomas Stone and Sister Mary Joseph Praise’s love is hidden even from them by the strict boundaries of their chosen professions and then even more so by their professional relationships. It takes a miracle or a catastrophe or both for it to be revealed to them and to others. I suppose it makes for an unusual love story, one that never really happens in real time, one where possession is out of the question—and yet it is a love story that has the power to drive every event in the book directly or indirectly.

Q: What is next for you? Do you anticipate both practicing medicine and writing fiction and nonfiction in the future? Anything in the works right now?

A: As to what is next: I have a collection of short stories, most of them published in various magazines,

but a few that are yet to come. But after a little break, I’d love to embark on the next novel. I learned invaluable lessons about form, structure, stamina, and pacing in the course of writing this one—painful lessons that should not go to waste. I’ve also been steadily doing shorter things, op-ed pieces for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times Magazine all through the years I wrote the novel. I’d like to do that more regularly.

I’d like to practice medicine till my last breath without actually collapsing on the patient—that would be bad form. I hope my mind and body will allow this. Being a physician is central to my life, truly my refuge, and so I don’t think I can give it up. If it’s a calling, then you can’t be a dilettante and wander off because you think something else calls. My writing emanates from a very personal stance which in my case is wrapped up in the privilege of practicing medicine. I recognize that I have a worldview colored by that fact. Still, what I think matters most is the words on the page, not the credentials or vocation of the writer.

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Average customer rating based on 39 comments:

Susan F, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Susan F)
Inticate plot and fascinating characters make this book one of my all-time favorites! This book also covers a brief, but accurate history of medicine.
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Richard Thies, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Richard Thies)
I found Cutting for Stone fascinating. The India/Ethiopia/U.S. setting gave a lot of cultural issues to think about. The medical treatments were eye-opening and well presented. The surprises gave some mystery, excitement and emotional pull. It was a most satisfying book.
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kuruvi, May 26, 2012 (view all comments by kuruvi)
Simply put: an amazing novel! A sweeping tale set in three continents, it has everything--desire, commitment, love, passion, abandonment, sacrifice, history, hope, redemption to name some of the themes explored in this book, and Verghese stitches each theme seamlessly and the result is a beautiful quilt! The narrative is simple but eloquent. The characters are so real, and each one of them remains in your memory long after the book is finished. I particularly loved reading about Ethiopia's politics, history and culture. Verghese's simplicity describing the challenges, hard work, pain, and rewards of the medical profession is very impressive. I have read this book thrice and I know I will read it again. Cutting for Stone leaves me wanting more from Verghese, and I will wait to see if he can cut a stone that will outshine this gem!
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Product Details

Verghese, Abraham
Knopf Publishing Group
Vaillant, John
Verghese, A.
Fathers and sons
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
A<br><br>&#8220;An epic tale about love, abandonme
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Cutting for Stone Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$28.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780375414497 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I'm used to reading good authors, but Verghese is so good, he blew me away. He writes with such detached compassion that Ethiopia becomes your homeland, and Matron, Ghosh, Marion and Shiva Stone, and all the rest become your friends, your neighbors, and your family. Do yourself a favor: read this book.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Cutting for Stone is both an excellent read and a gift that keeps on giving: I've recommended this book to many, many customers — some of whom have come back to thank me personally and buy more copies as gifts. The plot travels in many diverse directions, but eventually converges to create one solid story; you'll love, laugh, hate, and cry throughout its panoramic unfolding. This is such an outstanding novel, one can only dream of an encore.

"Review" by , "Abraham Verghese has long been one of my favorite authors. Yet, much as I admire his abundant gifts as both writer and physician, nothing could have prepared me for the great achievement of his first novel. Here is an extraordinary imagination, artfully shaped and forcefully developed, wholly given in service to a human story that is deeply moving, utterly gripping, and, indeed, unforgettable. Cutting for Stone is a work of literature as noble and dramatic as that ancient practice-medicine-that lies at the heart of this magnificent novel."
"Review" by , "Empathy for our frail human condition resonates throughout Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone. By tracing the development of a narrator unlike any other in our literature-from his nearly mythic beginnings in Ethiopia to his immigrant life in contemporary America-Verghese demonstrates that the supreme skill of a physician lies not in his hands but in his heart. No contemporary novelist has written so well about the human body. Cutting for Stone is an amazing and moving achievement which reminds us of the miracle of being alive."
"Review" by , "I finished Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone last night — it's absolutely fantastic! Holy cow, this book should be a huge success. It has everything: nuns, conjoined twins, civil war, and medicine — I was thinking that if Vikram Seth and Oliver Sacks were to collaborate on a four-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy set in Africa, they could only hope to come up with something this moving and entertaining. I would love to offer a quote for this. But what sort of quote do you think would be most helpful? Should it be: 'a luminous exploration of the boundaries between self and other, public duty and private obligation that limns the notion of I-ness...etc. etc'? That's how quotes usually look to me — like they were written by a literary theorist. Help! In any case, all of that is trivial. The main thing is, congratulations to Abraham, he's written a marvelous novel!"
"Review" by , "Cutting for Stone is a tremendous accomplishment. The writing is vivid and thrilling, and the story completely absorbing, with its pregnant Indian nun, demon-ridden British surgeon, Siamese twins orphaned and severed at birth, and narrative strands stretching across four continents. A tale this wild is perilous, but there is not a false step anywhere. Accomplished non-fiction writers do not necessarily make accomplished novelists, but with Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese has become both. This is a novel sure to receive a great amount of critical attention — and attention from readers, too. I feel lucky to have gotten to read it."
"Review" by , "Abraham Verghese has always written with grace, precision and feeling [but] he's topped himself with Cutting for Stone....A vastly entertaining and enlightening book."
"Review" by , "Cutting for Stone is nothing short of masterful —a riveting tale of love, medicine, and the complex dynamic of twin brothers. It is beautifully conceived and written. The settings are wonderfully pictorial. There is no doubt in my mind that Cutting for Stone will endure in the permanent literature of our time."
"Review" by , "With all the traits of a great 19th century novel...Cutting for Stone is destined for success."
"Review" by , "Contemporary literary comparisons are not easy with Verghese. At times he seems to be reaching for the magical realism of Gabriel Garci a Marquez, but with a more pragmatic bent."
"Review" by , "Verghese's writing infuses both surprise and humor as political and moral crises emerge at the hospital and within his characters."
"Review" by , "Verghese writes beautifully....[R]eaders will likely forgive him his coincidences for the pleasure of seeing everything work out, more or less, well."
"Review" by , "Abraham Verghese's first novel is a whopper, illuminating the magic and the tragedy of our lives, brimming with wisdom about the human condition. Such fun to read, too."
"Review" by , "Suffering, in medical and psychological senses, is the armature of much of the action and character in Cutting for Stone, but there is heroism as well."
"Review" by , "[A] staggering work, a beautifully crafted account of one man's birth, exile and return to his native Ethiopia."
"Review" by , "[A]bsorbing, exhilarating and exhausting....[Verghese's] intimate depiction of humanity makes your pulse race, your eyes tear, and your lungs exhale a satisfied sigh."
"Synopsis" by , A stunning debut novel from the author of My Own Country: an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, fathers and sons, doctors and patients, exile and home.
"Synopsis" by , An unforgettable, page-turning survival story recounted by Hector, a man trapped&#8212;perhaps fatally&#8212;inside a tanker truck during an illegal border crossing, telling of his hopes for rescue, the joys and trials of his life, and what has brought us all to this moment
"Synopsis" by ,
From the best-selling author of The Tiger and The Golden Spruce, this debut novel is a gripping survival story of a young man trapped, perhaps fatally, during a border crossing.

Héctor is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers’ money for a mechanic and have not returned. Those left behind have no choice but to wait.

Héctor finds a name in his friend César’s phone. AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message César has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?

Over four days, as water and food run low, Héctor tells how he came to this desperate place. His story takes us from Oaxaca — its rich culture, its rapid change — to the dangers of the border. It exposes the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte — land of promise and opportunity, homewrecker and unreliable friend. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Héctor fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world.

Both an outstanding suspense novel and an arresting window into the relationship between two great cultures, The Jaguar’s Children shows how deeply interconnected all of us, always, are.

"Synopsis" by , A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel&#8212;an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mothers death in childbirth and their fathers disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics&#8212;their passion for the same woman&#8212;that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him&#8212;nearly destroying him&#8212;Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

An unforgettable journey into one mans remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.

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