A wonderful picture of Ethiopian beauty

This story opens in 1954 in a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the middle of a birthing of twins.

Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese

Random House of Canada

This story opens in 1954 in a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the middle of a birthing of twins.

The scene takes place in a hospital called “Missing Hospital.”

It was intended to be “ Mission Hospital,” since it was supported by Churches in the United States, but distance and translation caused it to be known as “Missing.”

The birth is far from routine. The mother is a nun who has been serving as nursing assistant to Dr. Stone, a gifted surgeon.

Her pregnancy has been kept secret by the wearing of loose fitting garments. Who expects a Nun to be pregnant?

An added complication is that the twins are joined at the head by a small tube, a blood vessel, which must be severed.

The babies are three pounds each, and their mother is exhausted and near death.

This is a long and complicated story, more than 500 pages and is narrated totally by “Marion,” (one of the twins).

The second twin is named “Shiva.”

When the mother dies, Dr. Stone is heartbroken and does not even see the blessing of identical sons.

Dr. Hemlatha, the female obstetrician, who saved the babies, now becomes their mother. Dr. Stone leaves the county in despair. In a few months, Dr. Abhi Ghosh, marries Dr. Hemlatha and becomes a father to the boys.

The doctors of “Missing” hospital are resourceful and dedicated, often using old equipment.

Their donors in America have sent them a storeroom full of Bibles. How will these donors feel about the death of a nun dying in childbirth?

The two little boys grow up surrounded by medicine.

The identical twins, think and imagine in unison but grow to have very different traits. From a young age, Marion studies medical books and asks to observe operations.

Shiva, gentle and thoughtful, dislikes study, because he learns quickly and remembers everything.

He too is interested in medicine, but, like his adoptive mother, he is fascinated by obstetrics and oynecology.

Their caregiver during the work days, is Rosina, who eventually has a little girl named Genet.

Genet will be raised along with the boys, almost like a little sister, but abuse by her mother leads her to actions that will change this family forever.

This story told by Marion gives us a wonderful picture of the beauty of Ethiopia, the politics during the boys growing up years, and the necessity of Marion’s eventually fleeing the country. Genet has thrown her lot with revolutionaries and Marion is implicated.

Marion continues his Medical training in a Hospital in the Bronx, which specializes in gunshot wounds. He works long hours and sees little of America.

Finally he searches out the Ethiopian community in New York, and reconnects with Genet. It is the beginning of the end for one of the twins. Medical history is made but heartbreak is inevitable.

A compelling read, and an interesting picture of the country under Emperor Haile Selassie.

Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.

Just Posted

Man accused of manslaughter in fatal collision testifies he was cut off

A Delburne man accused of causing a fatal collision said he was… Continue reading

Class size targets hard to reach in Red Deer

Red Deer Public Schools recently updated its average class size

Lotteries look to younger customers to increase sales

Promoting online and interactive games

Red Deer man helps light up the holidays for others

Jim Elliott’s in his 15th year of mapping the city’s most magical, lit-up homes

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says Canada’s weed legalization has kept ‘underground market alive’

TORONTO — Tommy Chong has a pass, man. While some Canadians who… Continue reading

Apple deepens Austin ties, expands operations east and west

AUSTIN, Texas — Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin,… Continue reading

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

Most Read