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on 26 March 2013
What can I say other than I loved this book! You will not be disappointed especially if you enjoy medical orientated books. I couldn't put it down from the moment I picked it up! Just fantastic. Enjoy!
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on 18 August 2013
It was a very controversial subject with one of the main characters being a nun who gets pregnant. It was a very gripping story, which I enjoyed very much.
I have recommended it to several people.
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on 16 April 2014
Set in Ethiopia, the scene setting is remarkable. The characters are very well developed and instantly recognisable. The story line is highly unusual and very well observed. Utterly enthralling.
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on 12 August 2012
Brilliant! this is one of the best books I have read for a long time. Definitely one of the "can't put it down sort", it is gripping, detailed & as far as my knowledge is concerned, very accurate.
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on 31 July 2013
Absolutely magical book. Incredible story, so much goes on in this story, it is completely gripping and written with such a passion for Ethiopia and its' people. I couldn't put this book down!
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on 24 February 2014
A great page turner. Couldn't fault the obstetric references but didn't find it overly technical. Touching but not overly soppy. Just a great read. Have recommended it to friends and family.
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on 29 October 2014
extremely interesting story - good characters - very interesting history of Ethiopia of which I know very little. a bit too much medical details but you can skip without spoiling the story
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on 12 June 2014
A great story. You are lead on a terrific journey. Highly recommend it. Its one of those books you want to finish and then are sad that its all over and you have to read something else!
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on 4 March 2014
I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. Interesting context, plot and beautiful narrative and characters. I'll look for other Verghese books right away; it's been a real pleasure.
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on 13 March 2011
Is this a good book? Not really. Let me qualify that; it's a good book if

a) you are fascinated by postwar Ethiopia,
b) you really can't have too many medical terms in a book, and
c) you think everyone from foreign cultures or ethnic minorities is an intrinsically interesting and lovely human being, while every American or Brit is an emotionally-stifled fool

If so, then lap up 500 pages of the book. It's full of medical terminology regardless of circumstance; several scenes of potential emotion are ruined by being subject to several pages of surgical diagnosis at the crucial point. It's a doctor who is writing a novel, here; not a novel with some medical context to it.

Most of the book takes place in Ethiopia. The book is a eulogy to the place. It might be wonderful (never been there myself) but the book feels rose-tinted, with all the doctors being selfless and kind. Everyone else are pompous, stilted idiots who abuse locals and can't express emotion. It's a feeble, lazy, possibly talentless way to describe a colonised nation - there really needs to be more subtlety than this, and less cliché.

When the book moves to the USA, it becomes even worse. All the people from Africa or India are marvellous, altruistic human angels. All the Americans are selfish, arrogant and money-obsessed. The last 150 pages really drag, make little sense with the rest of the book, and smack of poor editing. It turns into Jodi Picoult sickliness, with some trite philosophical `lessons' to wash it down.

Overall, this is a book that tries desperately to be worthy, but imparts a distorted idea of the regions it covers. There is little by way of pacing, subtlety in drawing characters, generating emotion, or depth. Verghese may be a fine doctor, but he is a very average novelist.
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