So — since I’m probably the only person who hasn’t read this book, I put it on my “must get” list to purchase from Audible. I actually started this book when it came out several years ago, but couldn’t stay with it. I thought perhaps an audio version would be easier for me, especially since it had been so long I could not remember what it was about and why I didn’t stay with it.
This novel is the lifelong story of twins boys, Shiva and Marion, born to an English doctor and a young Indian nun. Their mother dies in childbirth and their father wants nothing to do with them, so they are raised by a pair of doctors who take the boys in and grow to love them (and each other). The story traces the boys’ development, growing up amid political turmoil in Ethiopia, falling in love with the same young woman (Genet – their childhood playmate), and making lives for themselves as physicians.
So here’s the thing — I wanted SO MUCH to like this story. It’s extremely well written, it has constant and universal themes in it of family, love, and sacrifice. Plus, EVERYONE I know has loved this book. Loved it. But I have to be honest – this book made me miserable. I found the almost gruesomely vivid medical details to be too much for me (driving to school one day I had to turn it off as I was going to throw up). I loved the part when the boys were young, but then some things occurred that involved Genet and I found them extremely disturbing. I was very troubled by the story and its outcomes. Yes, it’s an incredible work, but it left me in tears and haunted (not in a good way) by the characters. What can I say? I read to escape and I enjoy positive and uplifting feelings and endings. I’m extremely sensitive.This book genuinely made me miserable, so I was happy to finish it.
I’d love to hear from others who read it and their experience!
The Audiobook was a lengthy 24 hours and was ably read by Sunil Malhotra.