Book Biz: Dark but compelling options for good reads

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Published: February 13,2011

Kay Gough, owner of Bay Books in Bay St. Louis, recommends two outstanding books that will take readers to countries and subject matter which may be unfamiliar. She says both books’ subjects are dark but so compelling.

“Cutting for Stone” is an exotic story of brotherly love told by one twin born to an Indian mother, who happens to be a nun, and a physician father in Ethiopia.

“It is an amazing story based on a number of things this author, who’s a physician and grew up in Ethiopia, experienced,” Gough said. “It is a great story. I found it remarkable.”

Verghese’s Indian parents were teachers in Ethiopia. In addition to his medical practice, the author is a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

She says the author creates scenes in India, Ethiopia and the United States with realistic effectiveness. Additionally, the medical learning in the story feels completely natural and not something added for effect.

“‘Little Bee’ is a great story that brings home the plight of women and that war casualties are not all soldiers,” Gough said. “Told alternately in the voice of a young African girl and a white English woman, it’s a riveting tale that keeps you guessing about the outcome right up to the end.”

An enthralling page turner, this book is set mostly in England with flashbacks to Nigeria. The lives of the two women collide one fateful day on a beach in Nigeria, and one of them must make a heart-wrenching choice. A few years later they reunite in England where readers experience the country and language from the perspective of a refugee.

This book, journalist Cleave’s second novel, was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Award for Best Novel and is in development as a feature film. “Cutting for Stone” is his first novel.

Bay Books is for sale as Gough and her husband are moving to northern Italy in early summer. “Although I’m looking forward to the adventure of living in Italy, I regret leaving behind so many friends,” she said. “I really hope the bookstore can continue. It’s had good support here.”

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