This morning I finished my reading group book, Cutting for Stone. Insert huge spoiler alert here. This book stinks! And it's 560 pages so it stinks for a REALLY long time. It has the most unlikeable central character to come along since Humbert Humbert of Lolita but without all the redeeming aspects of that seminal work (pun intended.)
Cutting for Stone is not without potential. Author Verghese starts out with an intriguing and likable female character, Sister Mary Joseph Praise. Later he introduces another female character, Hema, extremely interesting and uber capable. He puts the reader on the high seas and in the air, in life-and-death situations and in humorous one. But Verghese kills off Praise early on and relegates Hema to a supporting actress role. He also brings us the delightful Ghosh, his best male character, who thankfully does get substantial page time.
But it is Marion, the less interesting of the twin sons, whom Verghese puts at the center of the book. Marion can nurse a grudge like nobody's business. The guy is like a pit bull with a marrow bone. Genet doesn't love him. Boo hoo hoo. Shiva sleeps with Genet. Boo hoo hoo. For christsake, they're barely pubescent and Shiva is obviously a Spock-like guy with a penis that does new things Shiva's glad to discover. Genet pays a horrible price for her rampant hormones but Marion is the one with the grudge. And did I mention he loves her? He will always love her? He carries his virginal ass around until he's twenty-five-ish because "he loves her." When he finally comes face to face with the love of his life, Genet is feverish and bleeding but Dr. Marion Stone doesn't hear warning bells loud enough to stop him from consummating his 'love' while she is less than 100%. Then he gets her hepatitis, nearly dies, get a liver transplant from not-yet-forgiven Shiva, who dies, then Marion nearly but not quite forgives and warms to his real father, who performed the transplant, then accuses his adoptive mother of always favoring Shiva, now dead, then finally finds the letter, the oft mentioned letter from his real mother, (the actually interesting but now dead nun, Sister Mary Joseph Praise), behind the framed picture that he has been schlepping from continent to continent. Is there really a reader out there who wasn't yelling early and often at the book "Look behind the picture!! Look behind the picture!!"
Oh my, one downside of reading on a Kindle is you can't throw the book at the wall for a satisfactory thud.