I loved this book. The main protagonist, Mr. Malik is simply adorable. He is a man of unusual integrity living in a city filled with corruption. He isI loved this book. The main protagonist, Mr. Malik is simply adorable. He is a man of unusual integrity living in a city filled with corruption. He is an older man in love with a woman who has no idea of the secrets that lie behind an unassuming facade. The story unfolds over the course of a few weeks and the reader, chapter by chapter, becomes privy to these surprising depths. Mr. Malik is an extremely private person and not even his closest drinking buddies at the club, nor the bird watching kindred spirit he chats with every week, have any idea of the burning passions and personal demons that lie beneath the surface.
I was enchanted by this book and if I hadn't been so distracted by other things, I would have easily wanted to read it in one sitting. A really lovely way to pass an afternoon. ...more
When I started this book I had no idea that it would end up being my favourite book of the year. It was so unexpectedly moving and brilliant that I amWhen I started this book I had no idea that it would end up being my favourite book of the year. It was so unexpectedly moving and brilliant that I am still shocked it is over. Abraham Verghese writes the kind of story that makes you a part of his world. A hospital compound in Ethiopia inhabited by an eclectic but warm cast of characters who form a tight knit family and who experience all sorts of upheaval from failed political coup attempts to extreme medical emergencies. I found the amount of medical detail quite fascinating but I imagine not everyone would. It does create very vivid pictures and sometimes uncomfortable reactions while reading but for me, it made sense, as every main character in the book is a physician. The story took me to the very edge of life and death, love and suffering and then left me in a place of peace. A really wonderful reading experience. ...more
This fascinating story takes us between two very different worlds. London in the 1980’s where Lily is a nurse struggling to find her place and AfricaThis fascinating story takes us between two very different worlds. London in the 1980’s where Lily is a nurse struggling to find her place and Africa where she was raised by a Moroccan religious leader after being orphaned by her hippie English parents.
Much of the action takes place in Ethiopia where Lily must struggle to integrate herself and come to terms with cultural practices strange and abhorrent to her. She finds acceptance and comfort in teaching her adoptive family and other neighborhood children from the Koran.
When Lily is separated from the man she loves and forced to flee Ethiopia because of political events, her inner life stagnates. She is emotionally frozen in the past, waiting and wondering what has become of him. She isolates herself by solely connecting with other refugees in the housing estate where she lives.
Parts of the story I had great difficulty reading, but over all, getting a glimpse of the culture and everyday lives of women in this part of the world was illuminating, and really beautiful. Lily’s faith sustains her through a difficult life and in the end I was left with a feeling of admiration for her devotion as well as the author’s subtle handling of painful personal and political events. ...more