My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This may be one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever read. The beauty and majesty of Verghese’s prose is astonishing. I’m shocked that it isn’t based upon real lives – since it captures the very essence of Shiva and Marion, identical twin boys, conjoined in the womb; their mother a nun who dies giving them life and their father the physician who abandons them for “killing” their mother, the love of his life. Drama enough for sure . . . But the beauty is in how Verghese breathes life into these characters! The story is told from Marion’s point of view from the time of his earliest memories.
Hema and Ghosh, two other physicians at Missing Hospital, a mission outpost in Ethiopia, become parents to the boys and together weave a fascinating tapestry of familial love amidst an intriguing look at the history of Ethiopia’s Selassie and Mengisto as they ruled and suffered and sometimes ruled again.
The world of identical twins is explored unofficially as Marion comments on and lives through the shared experiences of ShivaMarion, that entity which is neither one nor the other, but both.
This is a long book, but definitely worth the read. I loved it.