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PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter



Special Announcement:






So…. My book got reviewed!

Not only did it get reviewed, but it got 5 out of 5 stars on the review. Sweet, yes?


To celebrate, I will be cutting the price of all online orders for today and tomorrow only.

Just these two days, get your own copy of Links for only 10 dollars (plus shipping).

You could have your very own copy in two days!

If you have been putting off ordering, now is your chance!









To read more about Links, including the back cover and the Introduction, click here.


Note: You must use the above button. Limit 4 reduced rate copies per customer. Overseas sales will have an additional charge.

Double The Meat

A while ago my friend Sasha (who was kind enough to talk up my book on his cocktail podcast a while ago as well as create a drink just for me called the Special Kay) put out a tweet that was a basic call out to see if there were any women out there who self describe as “chubby chasers.”

I wrote in saying that I would never use that phrase to describe myself, but I do tend to be drawn to guys who are bigger. Taller. Rounder. Bigger.

Call it a personal preference, call it a desire to feel small, call it wanting to make sure no one gets broken in the bedroom, but there you go.

Apparently this preference as well as my brilliant spin as a writer (coughREALLYcough), my gamer/geek cred, and the fact that Sash likes me was enough to get me invited to be a guest on his other podcast: Double Meat Podcast.

The Double Meat Podcast is not for the faint of heart or the delicate of ears… but it is a lot of fun to listen to and it was a blast to be on. Check it out the next time you want something awesome for your ears.


Here’s the link!

The Gates

Strap in for a blow by blow of the opening scene followed by a review of the pilot (available on Hulu.com)

The Hulu info by the way is succinct: The Monohan family moves into a new home in an exclusive community.

Well.. with a catch like that… Zzzzzz

No, I’m sure that this new drama from ABC will be exciting and new! Let’s give it a chance!

We open on a dark big wall that is protecting all the joys of suburbia. There is a young white couple running, happy little white kids with lemonade, picnicking, washing cars, etc. Then, a dark haired woman is in her garden clipping roses (no hat, no sunglasses, and no ponytail to obscure her beauty and charmed unrealistic pruning). She calls out to a pouty little girl named Emily that she (dark haired Rose Trimmer) has told her (Emily of the pouty face) not to skateboard without a helmet. Rose Trimmer has an accent.

Emily steps off her skateboard and it rolls away into the path of a car being driven by White Guy On Cell Phone complaining about his wife.

Rose Trimmer runs after Emily screaming but Emily ignores her and then stands frozen in the car’s path. Cell Phone Man slams on the brakes and then crashes.

Rose Trimmer grabs the apologetic Emily and after hugging her checks openmouthed on Cell Phone guy who has a nasty cut and a face full of blood.

Carpool Mom pulls up to pick up Emily and despite her obvious and over acted misgivings, Rose Trimmer aka Mom lets Emily go to school.

The skateboard is forgotten as Emily climbs into the minivan and, not wasting a second, Rose trimmer Mommy invites bloody Cell Phone man inside.

Rose Trimmer gets all chatty with our Contractor Cell Phone man (so maybe it wasn’t his wife he was complaining about). Her second question to him involves her notifying his wife? Girlfriend? He has neither and in fact he says that this (her washing his face) might be the closest he has been to a woman all year. Instead of standing up and kicking him out for being creepy, she continues to wash his face and tries to reassure him.

“I’m sure it will just be a mater of time.”

“I hope so,” he stares at her getting creepier by the second, “Not sure how much longer I can wait.”

Again, she isn’t creeped out but does tell him that she is married and then promptly gets a bit weird about the blood on the cotton balls. She pulls herself from staring at the disgusting things and has the energy to banter with him a bit more. Mixed Signal City.

Apparently the bloody cotton balls changed her mind because suddenly her husband is out of town and they are kissing… she leads him into the kitchen she has a thing for kitchens, and they are making out hard core before I start to wonder if this is going to be a vampire show… and then…

Yep. Teeth, Biting. Shoulder Clutching. Bleeding him over the stopped up kitchen sink.

Roll credits.



Sigh. I sort of don’t want to bother. I mean.. another vampire show? This one with its own mythos (obviously the sun isn’t an issue for Rose Trimmer) and pitfalls. I like the vampire stuff… but… honestly, isn’t mass culture getting a bit blood boated by now?

Also, there are a LOT of white people in this show. Like... everyone.

I digress.

The show is about a family moving into a gated community. Well okay. But…

The show is actually about the cast of characters in the gated community. There are the vampires, but somehow they are a bit human. There are the cliché characters but they somehow seem well cast. There is the set up for down the road reveals that actually look intriguing.

And it is more than vampires. There are werewolves and witches (dueling witches pretending to be herbalist holistic healers!) and of course there is teen angst and marital strife, and small town nosey neighbors.

I wish there was a bit more humor… the show could suffer from taking itself too seriously, but on the whole it is engaging, interesting, and moderatly entertaining.

I’ll keep watching.


The Press Release!

Wanna read a Press Release?

Yeah… I knew you would…..


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Author Kaylia Metcalfe Introduces Links
Short Story Collection Celebrates Human Connections

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – In Links: A Collection of Short Stories (published by iUniverse), author Kaylia M. Metcalfe explores the complexity of relationships as she examines human beings’ struggle to connect, or link, themselves to others.

In the story “Angel,” the panhandler Angel makes a brief and ultimately tragic connection with a young, frazzled woman. Angel is, unknowingly, at a crossroads in his life. She, unknowingly, is the catalyst for his epiphany. Her moment of kindness is rewarded by a horrible hit-and-run accident that leaves her dying in Angel’s arms. Angel will never know her, but as he holds her he is connected to her in the most intimate of ways.

The story, “Goals,” follows the misadventure of Brett and Danny, two college students who have planned to make their summer the best ever. At first, they are enamored by the idea of endless drinking and roaming seductions. However, as their adventure progresses, Danny begins to pull away from Brett and finds himself being affected on a deeper level by the pursuit and eventual achievement of these goals. From crowded bars to a sticky Denny’s booth, Danny finds himself in the quiet and peaceful embrace of a tired waitress. Danny’s journey is at once universal and yet wholly personal.

Through these narratives, Metcalfe shows how we all yearn for the same things in life: to feel like we belong, to feel important to someone and to feel that we are connected, in some paramount way, to others.

About the Author
Kaylia M. Metcalfe grew up in the Silicon Valley of California where she attended high school and junior college. She studied writing for film and television, and she has been a contributor to poetry anthologies. In 2005, she graduated with honors from California State University, Sacramento, receiving her bachelor of arts in English.

Metcalfe is now busy promoting her debut work, Links, and is working on another short story collection. She resides in Santa Cruz, Calif., and is an active blogger and volunteer in her community. Visit her online at www.kayliametcalfe.com.


Freakin’ Sweet eh?

Default

I don't like the default position.

In fact, I will go into the setting for things like my phone, my computer, etc and change things just so as to avoid the whole default position idea.

I don’t like it on computers… but I hate it on people.

The default position says that we all start off the same and then sometimes change but that it is safe to assume that we won’t mind if someone uses the default position in order to judge who and what we are.

The default position says it is okay to assume that people are straight until proven otherwise.
The default position says that if you are overweight, you are unhappy about your body.
The default position says that if you are a woman you love chocolate.
The default position says that if you are a man, you don’t know how to clean the toilet.
The default position says that if you don’t have kids, you won’t mind working late.


The default position is crap.

The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson (Series)

The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson (Series)
by Louise Rennison







Every now and then you want to read something light and fluffy: brain candy.

The next time this urge hits you, reach for the highly entertaining Georgia Nicolson series.

These books are the “diary” of a fourteen year old English girl who’s major problems include make up, fashion, dreaming over Sex Gods, and dealing with the embarrassment of her crazy family.

I know… it sounds shallow, predictable, and repetitive. Well, it is. But it is also funny, engaging, fast to read, and above all else plain old fun. Most of the humor comes from a delightful mix of British pop culture and jargon with the misadventures of the freakishly unique Georgia. It isn’t every fourteen year old girl who will go to a costume party dressed as a stuffed olive complete with face and neck painted red.

If the plots sometimes take forever to progress, well, we can forgive it. If the same themes of “he loves me, he loves me not” persist book after book, well again… forgivable. Wasn’t that what being a teenager was all about?

I have read the first 7 of the books and found them to be fun just before bed light reading, (an essential night cap after an evening of, say, Dexter) and I highly recommend them as frivolous fluffy brain candy of the highest order.


Hair

I decided to get a hair cut.

Or rather, I decided to get all of my hairs cut.

It was time. I hadn't had a proper hair cut in over three years and my last little trim was about a year ago as well.

Ok... so that is the official reason. The truth is that the whole turning 30 thing is kind of freaking me out and for some reason the fact that I had a hair style that basically consisted of "ignore, wash, repeat" wasn't helping me feel any more mature and adult.

So, a new hair style was in order.

The problem is that I am inherently lazy when it comes to stuff like doing my hair or wearing make up. There is an aspect of feminism, "take me as i am" to be sure... but there is also a big chunk of "sleeping in" and "it takes me 10 minutes to get ready in the morning."

'Hi," I said to the perky glossy perfectly coifed hair dresser at the salon down the street from my office, the salon i could never have ever been able to afford except that it just opened and I managed to score one of those special offer package things.

"Hi!" she said, probably realizing that I was going to be her problem client of the day.

"I want a cut," i hesitate, "a few inches or so to get rid of the split ends... and then, maybe a style that I can maintain easily."

"Sure," she smiles "do you have any photos/"

Well, as a matter of fact, I do! I had spent a whole 10 minutes on the internet looking up possible 'dos" and then i had harnessed the power of the internet and my iphone to be able to instantly show her the two style I had figured I might be able to a)look okay in and b) handle the upkeep for.





She was undaunted. We talked about my ability to care for a style (none) the amount of time I wanted to spend on it in the morning (as little as possible), and my normal routine of hair care (wash in the evenings, air dry, occasionally brush).

She still seemed undaunted!

"I think we can do it." she smiled at me again, "I'll give you a bit of bang but not across your forehead and some layers to help your hair have a bit more body... and I'll cut about ... say, ... 6 inches off."

Gulp

In the end that is exactly what she did.

Before hair: (from a few months ago, so it was actually a bit longer)



Current hair:



And I can still sort of put it up in a pony tail thing.



I sort of like it. It will take some getting used to, to be sure, but I feel like I have an actual hair style for the first time since maybe age 13.






Now... to consider highlights....

A Reliable Wife




A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick


Set in the harsh Wisconsin winter, entrenched in the borderline insanity of the town, and taking place just after the turn of the last century, A Reliable Wife is a story that refuses to be pigeonholed. Part romance, part mystery, part over zealous literary symbolic foray into the idea of good, evil, and forgiveness, the story moves through time and space almost effortlessly.

There is particular attention paid by author Goolrick to character development. He straddles the line of telling you just enough to make you care but not too much to keep you from truly knowing… and in this way the twists, when they come, are startling and also totally foreseeable. Through the rampant use of flashbacks (sometimes bordering on too much) Goolrick invites the reader into the hearts and minds of both husband and wife in this almost epic story of a mail order bride with a dark past and the haunted husband who has many secrets of his own.

In the end, it all comes down to the story… and despite the occasional lull in action or redundant emotional plea, this book does indeed have a gripping, moving, and highly interesting story. The excessive descriptions will delight the detail-oriented reader while the themes of love and loss will enamor the more romantic at heart big picture types.

A good title for book clubs or drowsy summer reading, a Reliable Wife will make you cherish what you have and remind you that, thankfully, winter doesn’t last forever… even in Wisconsin.


LONDON!





A year and a half ago, The wonderful Maifan-San (aka The Man aka Anthroslug aka my partner aka Super Sweet Boyfriend Extraordinaire) took me to Tokyo. It was amazing. While there we joked about going to England… and shockingly we actually did so in May of this year.

Dating Mathew has been good for my passport. I didn’t even have a passport before we met, now I am the happy owner of two stamps (well, actually in Tokyo they did the sticker thing).

The trip to London (and Cambridge) was super fun. It is so nice to travel with someone you care about who is on the same wave as you in terms of how much walking is too much walking, how much is too much to spend on dinner, and how much blatant cliché tourism stuff is just a bit too much blatant cliché tourism stuff.



I won’t ramble on too much but I did want to list out a few things:



I loved the London Underground… major envy for this easy to use and not super pricey way of getting around the city.






Riding on the top front part of a double decker bus was probably more fun than it should have been.

The British Museum was beyond amazing. We spent nine hours there and I could have spent another 9 hours.







Pubs close too early.

The British have weird names of candy bars. There is one called Yorkies and on the label it say “not for girls” Really. It is distributed by Nestle. Go figure.


(We had to buy this not for girls candy bar for my bestest gay pal because, well, we just had to.)

Buying scarves on the street was both fun and cheap! Yay scarves!

Farmer’s markets / flea markets in England are an awful lot like the ones here. Exccept there they sell weird marshmallow ropes.



Fish and Chips are overrated.

Half pints are adorable, affordable, and fun to drink. (Especially with my newly legal sister who had been living in France.)





British game shows are like Japanese game shows with snarky commentary.

I always felt a bit odd ordering “English Breakfast Tea”… sometimes all I had to order was “breakfast tea” while others times I actually had to clarify. But having tea five times a day was fun… and lead to a major tea addiction I am still trying to beat. Sort of.



An old dilapidated cemetery is a good place to rest.




Eventually any Really Cool Nifty Unique Architecture can get old once you have seen nothing but Really Cool Nifty Unique Architecture for over a week.








Matthew has written about the trip (and really, done a better more humorous job) and also has some good photos up over here. –As always he took many of the back of my head or me walking away, it is like a habit of his and has absolutely nothing to do with me being ,at times, camera shy. Nothing at all. Really.

Cheers!


Plan!

So,

(Do I start too many blogs with “So..”? Maybe.

-Ahem-

A Press Release has been written about me and my book. Very cool eh? It will be distributed to a few markets and hopefully will generate interest which in turn will generate the ability to do some events which will in turn generate sales and exposure: all good things.

The bio part refers to me as an “active blogger” and so I figured that I should probably get back to blogging.

Also, I miss blogging but, obviously, it has been hard to blog without a working laptop. Thankfully, my laptop has been fixed and therefore there really isn’t any excuse.

A while ago I listed out the partly written blog topics I had in mind… first up (tomorrow)… London!

The Ought of Pot

What happens when the federal government and the state government don’t agree?

I am lucky enough to work for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit who’s mission and vision I can wholeheartedly support. I love knowing that the work done in my little office is important, that it does make a difference, that we are changing the world for the better.

As you might have guessed, part of the Big Brother Big Sister program are the Bigs; the adult volunteers who give up a few hours a week of their time and who bond with their matched Little. We have a pretty rigorous process for becoming a Big. One must be over 18, stable, a resident of the county for a year, be stable, have the support of their significant other, etc. Then he/she would have to apply, give 4 references (3 personal and 1 professional), undergo a few different background checks including a fingerprint run and a DMV report. There is a home visit, an extensive office interview, and then the committee meets to discuss and hopefully accept. During this process, there is quite a bit of paperwork the potential Big must fill out including a waiver, insurance information, and also an agreement to not use alcohol around the Little and not to smoke pot at all during the time he/she is a Big.

Can you see where this is going?

Currently in our program we have a lot of little boys on the waiting list. We always seem to have more Volunteers big Sisters than Big brothers which is sad because we seem to have a lot more little boys than little girls in need of a Big. So, the waiting list is long and some of the little guys have been waiting for a while. (We match based on personality etc… it is not a first come first served sort of thing.)

Recently, we had an applicant who I will name Bill. Bill was the model Big Brother candidate. He was stable, even-tempered, nice, level headed, mature, the list went on and on. The problem? Bill had a prescription for medical marijuana

Now, the policy is pretty clear, but the reason for the 0 tolerance is because it is illegal in this country to use marijuana. Despite what some people would like to believe, that’s true… at the Federal Level, it is illegal.

But California makes it provisionally legal if one has a prescription. Therefore, Bill wasn’t considering his actions illegal.

The Agency was torn. He is a wonderful candidate for Big-ness and we are in severe need for good Big Brothers.

And yet...

In the end, after talking to the national BBBS office and even the county DA (who wasn’t all that helpful) it was determined that prescription or no, the use of marijuana wasn’t going to be condoned by us.

This wasn’t the first time that we have lost a potential Big because of pot use. Some tell us flat out that they use it and don’t see why they should stop. One told us that she uses it twice a year on her birthday and Christmas, but even then we had to reject her.

Sadly, I am sure that there are some Bigs out there who weren’t totally honest with us. It is a bit ironic and sad that the same wonderful honesty that would have made Bill a great role model for someone was what kept him from being able to.

When all is said and done, I fully support the agency’s decision. I think that from a guideline stand point it is better to have one rule for everyone. It keeps things consistent. I know that it wasn’t a personal moral objection to the substance… but the lesson of “we follow the rules” is important and a good thing to be imparting to the kids, potential Bigs, and the whole community.

Someday (sooner rather than later is some of my community members have their way) marijuana might be legal.

Until then though, BBBS will keep its drug policy simple and direct.

Nope to dope.

AT&T... only 1 calorie of evil?

AT&T gets rid of Unlimited Data Plans.


That sounds bad. It sounds like we are going to end up spending more money on our already pretty pricey phone bills.




But… Not so! In today’s lesson of why it is good to read beyond the headlines…. This is actually a good thing for consumers.

It is going to save me personally 15 bucks a month. Which isn’t huge, but you can bet that if it was going to raise my bill by 15 bucks, I would be pretty steamed.



So, this is actually rather nice.

Here’s how it works.

Right now AT&T is charging us iPhone users a $30 fee for unlimited data usage. (Data usage is email, videos, web browsing etc). As of June 7th you can either stick with that or opt in to one of the new programs which will be the only options for new users.

The two plans are DataPro and DataPlus.

DataPlus is the cheaper option at $15 a month for 200MBs which AT&T says is good for 1,000 e-mails without attachments, plus 150 messages with attachments, plus 400 Web pages, plus about 20 minutes of streaming video. If you go over, you get another 200MB for another $15 bucks… meaning you would be paying the same amount as normal but with 400MBs. If you think you will need more than that you can do the DataPro option.

DataPro is $25 a month and gives you 2GB of data. (That’s already a 5 buck savings) If you go over, you get a $10 charge. Making your total bill only 5 bucks more expensive.. and that is if you go over.

How many MBs and GBs do you really need?

A good way to check is to see how many you used last month and the month before that. You can do this on the iPhone by tapping "settings," then "general," then "usage," then scroll down to the "cellular network data" heading. Other smartphones have it in the Setting menu… or you can call AT&T and ask.

It might surprise you how little you have actually been using. I know it surprised me.

And perhaps one of the best parts of this change… AT&T will warn you if you get close to your cap. You will get a free text message at 65%, 90% and then right before you cap out.

With safeguards like that and plans that can and quite possibly will save you money… what’s not to love about his change?

Yeah yeah, AT&T is a big evil corporation out to rule the world.

But maybe they are only diet evil.

At least for now.


The Fall

I signed up to run/jog/walk a half marathon in October.

I did this because I realized I had gained weight and needed a tangible, measurable goal with solid unmovable milestones in order to motivate myself.

Also because I was feeling depressed and stir crazy and was getting bitter about the weight I had gained.

I gained weight in part because I spent two weeks doing nothing but sitting on my rear end and eating. (This also fed the depression and stir crazy stuff)

I was sitting on my rear end because while in London I managed to aggravate a knee injury resulting in a diagnosis of Bursitis and doctor’s orders to stay off my feet. Which meant no going to the gym, no walking to work, etc.

Which was particularly annoying because while in London I spent my time walking like crazy but also eating a LOT of foods high in fat and calories resulting in weight gain.

The original knee injury came from a fall.

Today’s Story of Kay Adventure aka Things That Make You Glad You Aren’t Me: The Fall Before the Marathon.

Let me set the stage. It was mere days before the big fundraiser that I had been working round the clock to promote and organize. Tension at the office was palpable and nerves were frayed.

Without going into too many details, a coworker snapped at me (in front of a group of volunteers) and I was horribly embarrassed. She had put me in my “just an admin” place and my ego was bruised. Apparently, the phrase “just an admin” is the red flag that makes the bull in my heart want to destroy things. Or cry.

(So condescending considering that I didn’t just happen to fail at life and then become an admin because I had no other options. I chose this work because I like helping people, I like being in the support role, I like being organized etc. Also, I do more than the normal admin in my current role. A LOT more. Anyway… back to the story)

So there I was, fighting back stupid tears, trying to just hold on and make it through a few more hours/days until the whole stressful thing would be over. It was past lunch time and I was hungry, but more than that, I needed a break. From the office, from other people, just… a break. All I wanted to do was walk down to Subway and eat a sandwich in the sunshine while reading my book for a bit… to escape.

One more thing you should know. I was wearing a dress. A shortish flippy skirt sort of dress with a cute little cardigan and a fun and perfectly matched scarf. In other words, I had started the day feeling confident, sexy, on top of the world etc. This was the perfect outfit in which to enjoy the sunshine and my book.

However, my escape was not to be. Instead I ended up going to lunch with my boss. Don’t get me wrong, I normally really like my boss and have enjoyed our lunches both before this day and afterwards. But on this day, I didn’t WANT to go to lunch with my boss. I wanted some “me” time. However, one of the things about bosses is that they can ask you to do things in a way that makes it hard to say no. (Sometimes even a “no thank you” won’t work. Trust me.)

So off we went.

Imagine for a moment the highly stung version of me who went to lunch that day. Take a moment to feel the incessant prickle of tears behind my eyes as I try to make casual conversation. There hadn’t been a moment to collect my thoughts or take a breath.. it had been nonstop. And now, the ever present fear that a private lunch with the boss was a portent of doom, of discipline or some sort of negative something.

We got out of the car and walked toward the curb and of course that is where I fell. To be accurate, I tripped. Over a curb. A bright red curb. A bright red curb that was about 3 inches high, 2 inches wide, and wasn’t an actual step… the pavement on both sides of the damn curb was the same level… there was just this random bit of barrier along the perimeter of the outside eating area. A barrier that I either thought was a step up or maybe my heel caught the back side of it as I stepped over it. I don’t actually know.

The next thing I did know, I was on my knees and then my hip. My glasses and sunglasses had flown away and I was momentarily blinded. My knees were bloody. Oh, and my skirt was up, over my waist showing all the lunching patrons my delightfully non-sexy panties.

Had I known a show was in my future that day, I might have worn something more exciting. But no. I was wearing plain nude little bikini panties, which probably made it look like I wasn’t wearing anything at all.

To my utter shame, the tears I had been holding back could be held back no longer and I cried. A bit for the pain, a bit from the surprise, mainly though because of the embarrassment. I don’t think I have fallen quite like that in years and years… and I am pretty sure I was 13 the last time I had skinned knees.

The tut tuttting and mothering of my boss made it both better and worse.

Eventually we got me up off the ground, the knees were washed off, we had lunch and I tried to pretend that I wasn’t mortified beyond belief.

I refused to fill out a workers comp claim form (after all I was on my lunch, it was my fault etc) and I waited for the swelling and the disgusting scabs on my knees to go away.

And then a week later while walking up and down the hundreds of stairs that are part and parcel to the London Underground system I became aware of a throbbing, sharp pain with every bend. It got so bad that I couldn’t put any weight on my leg.

I had to rest it. I had to ice it. I had to take it easy. I was eventually able to walk on it, but stairs were a constant form of mind numbing pain. I refused to let it damper our trip too much and probably made it slightly worse which in turn led me to the doctor when we got back getting a prescription for a knee brace, pain pills, and strict orders to stay off it for two full weeks.

Which all led to the weight gain, the slight depression, and the decision that I needed to do something slightly extreme.

Like sign up to do a half marathon.

Of course I can’t throw myself into training because I still have to baby the knee just a bit.

But I have taken steps (hee!) toward my goal. I bough a bathroom scale. I bought actual running shoes. I went for a “how out of shape walk am I?” walk where I determined that I am pretty out of shape but not a lost cause and got a sunburn. And last night I walked home for the first time in over a month.

It felt great.

October… here I come!



Details about the half marathon I will be participating in can be found here.

Cutting For Stone

Cutting For Stone
By Abraham Verghese



This novel takes the idea of being ambitious to a whole new level. I don’t mean the characters are driven by ambition in a new and special way (although that could certainly be said) but rather that author Abraham Verghese attempts to tell several stories in one novel.

There are multiple love stories that interweave, there is the core story of the lives of twins Shiva and Marion, there is the historical story of emperors, coups, and political strife in Ethiopia, there are medical journeys through time, there is the tale of parental struggle, and there is the universal story of love lost and found.

No wonder the book is 658 pages.

I think Verghese does a marvelous job in telling each of these stories, in giving each tale the breath and weight it deserved, in weaving them all together in an unforgettable tapestry.

If at times the story seems to take its dear sweet time to get where we hope and dread it s going, well, that is probably intentional. That is part of growing up. That is part of medical advances. That is part of life.

Verghese does a marvelous job of creating characters who are distinct yet shockingly familiar. The traits that make us love Hema and Ghosh, that make us cheer Marion on and wonder about Shiva’s moral compass are artfully portrayed. The characters become real in a very tangible way, flaws and disappointments intact.

Cutting For Stone tells the story of the complex tragic love of an Indian nun and a troubled British doctor. From their union comes the twins who are raised by surrogate parents. Told from the point of view of the first born twin Marion, the novel moves back and forth in time showing us how the small choices of generations before can impact our lives and the lives of others in the future. Set in Ethiopia but spanning India, Africa, and America, the story unfolds and then unfolds again. There are layers here.. layers of beauty, layers of connection, layers of betrayal, layers of love.

With surgical precision Abraham Verghese has found a way to tell a beautiful and haunting story.

This book is well worth the invested time and the occasional slump in plot momentum, and I highly recommend it.