I don’t even know where to begin to describe this book. It was a lot to take in. It’s a fictional family saga that spans more than forty years and three continents.
The story is told by the eldest of a pair of twin boys, born under traumatic and precarious circumstances in a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. They were born conjoined, but are physically separated shortly after, although emotionally, they continued to share a preternatural bond. They are raised at the mission hospital making a future in medicine their destiny. As the boys grow up, their bond is tested, while the political climate around them becomes complicated and dangerous.
The author’s background in medicine is obvious right from the start. There are passages in the book that describe conditions and procedures in such vivid detail, I was close to dry heaving a few times. Eventually, I learned to just skim over some of the icky parts. I can’t decided if these descriptions really added to the story or not.
Aside from the bits that made me squeamish, it was an interesting story. I even learned a bit about Ethiopia and it’s history in the 20th century – a subject I knew almost nothing about. I was once again reminded about how fortunate I am to live in a first world country. I also learned more that I ever wanted to know about surgery.
If you are looking for a happy, feel good, sort of book, this is not for you. If you want a story that will leave you thinking about it days after you’ve put it down, I recommend it.