Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

A friend suggested this book to me- it took me a little while to pick it up because of its size (one has to be ready to commit to such a book).  Once I had committed, though, I immediately fell in love with it.  The novel is set in Ethiopia, a place I know pretty much nothing about, and details two rather star-crossed lovers:  a nun with mysterious holes in her past and an excellent surgeon with startling drinking binges and blackouts.  The two work side-by-side in a Catholic hospital serving impoverished women and the odd Ethiopian politician.  The story charts the political evolution of Ethiopia while following the fate of two twins conjoined at birth, Shiva and Marion Stone, who both develop an interest in medicine.  It follows their similarities, their differences, and their development of individual identities as orphans (both raised by the excellently fleshed out characters named Hema and Abhi).  I will not spoil the ending here, but I will say that I bawled throughout the last couple of chapters.  The ending is a bit cinemagraphically oriented (at times I asked myself, "Really?  Is this even plausible?") but I found it effective none the less.  Three stars.