This is the story of Marion Stone, born in Ethiopia from the illicit union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. On the night he and his brother Shiva were born, his mother died and his father disappeared. The boys are raised by two other doctors for the hospital in which the boys were born. Marion recounts his experience growing up in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, and the sometimes complicated bond between him and his twin brother. As Marion grows older and the country becomes embroiled in a revolution, his life becomes more and more entangled with the warfare and may eventually lead him to his estranged father.
I’ve found little Ethiopia literature, though I don’t know why. I’m grateful for this novel, as it is a gem. Although fiction, it provides a great window into a volatile period in African history that few Westerners know much, if anything, about. The characters are well-crafted and believable, and the writing flows easily. Verghese creates a picture of Addis Ababa and the devastation it took due to the revolution, a picture more vivid than any history book could create.
Highly recommended for those interested in a little-known culture and history. One of the best books I’ve so far this year!