Sister Mary Joseph Praise, a devout young nun, leaves the south Indian state of Kerala in 1947 for a missionary post in Yemen. During the arduous sea voyage, she saves the life of an English doctor bound for Ethiopia, Thomas Stone, who becomes a key player in her destiny when they meet up again at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa. Seven years later, Sister Praise dies birthing twin boys: Shiva and Marion, the latter narrating his own and his brothers long, dramatic, biblical story set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Ethiopia, the life of the hospital compound in which they grow up and the love story of their adopted parents, both doctors at Missing.
As another person noted, the size of this book can seem a bit daunting. It is a hefty book and it took me longer than average to get through it. But it is worth the time invested into it. Verghese is a vivid storyteller who kept my attention even when describing intricate (and graphic) details of a surgery.
Up next is more fluff to balance out the seriousness ... "Nadia Knows Best" by Jill Mansell.