Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, This weekend I will be attending my first Progressive Dinner here in Sea Cliff. I would like to bring "something to the table" in the form of a good book to discuss- something many people will have read. Any recommendations? Novice Diner

Dear Novice, How I love the Civic Association's annual Progressive Dinner and I am truly impressed that you would wish to discuss a book at dinner! Many people have read and enjoyed CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese. Since I was traveling and wanted to read it on my Kindle, I used the Sea Cliff Library's new service: Overdrive. So easy to use, completely free, and done from home! Check at the library's website for details. But back to the book- while I enjoyed learning about Ethiopia, its history, its geography, and the politics of medicine here and abroad, I was disappointed in the novel itself. It is a fictionalized autobiography of Marion Stone, who with his twin brother Shiva, is born in 1950's Ethiopia. When their beautiful Indian mother dies and their surgeon father Thomas Stone flees Africa in despair, they are adopted by a loving couple who share with the boys their fascination with medicine and surgery. The book is filled with details of diseases, cures, and surgical interventions while the revolution that toppled the Ethiopian government forms the ongoing backdrop for the story. The brothers end up in America where coincidence after coincidence brings the story to a neat, perhaps too neat, conclusion. A flawed work but excellent for a good dinner discussion!

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