A very confusingly emotional voice message from a friend suggesting me to read the book , one day, made me buy this book and start a four month literary journey to a land, which I thought only existed on the world map.
A wrecking life journey of a british surgeon, Dr Thomas Stone, from his childhood in the pre independent India to the ‘Missing’ a.k.a. Mission hospital in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia to becoming a renowned liver transplant surgeon in Boston, is not merely a journey of half a century. It involves losses of loved ones, sacrfices of lives and emotions, passion about medicine and how it changes many lives in and around the Missing. Dr Abraham Vergese has caught it all, dug deep in the past of many characters who come in each other’s lives through the Missing Hospital- the common bond of all.
This book is about a man, Thomas Stone, the heart and soul of the surgery at Missing, who meets his twin children 25 years later, after he abandons them during their birth when their mother, a nun, dies shortly thereafter. It’s about Dr Ghosh, a dedicated doctor of medicine , turned surgeon, due to circumstances and about Dr Hema ,a strong headed woman, whose transformation from a gynaecologist and obstretician to a new mother , who protects and loves them like no other, is worth reading. They both raise the twins, Marion and Shiva, as their own blood, protecting them without hiding the truth about their parents. It’s about the people of Addis, mostly the sufferers disguised as patients at Missing, most of them dying happily by putting an end to their sufferings, in the arms of Dr Ghosh and Dr Hema, who are bound together by a contract marriage on the outside and deep unfound love for each other on the inside. Some of them who heal by the doctors’ knowledge and skillful hands, become their confidantes for life. This all explained ,through the lives of the twins as they come into this world , grow up with the purpose of becoming doctors through their common seeded passion for medicine, their betrayal over a girl Genet that turns into hatred , later sewed into immortal love and their mutual internal struggle to meet their father, Dr Thomas Stone, which grows into a desire as they come of age.
It’s about the swirl your heart makes at the unheard tones of Tipitina, the watering of the mouth at the mention of the classic injera and wok , which you’ve never ever tasted or seen before.
It’s about a letter which ties the knots together, binds broken threads and memories that comes to a full circle as you close the book with a new world coming to an end inside your heart, yet , content to the fullest.
It’s about life , which we live forward, but understand it backward.
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