Her happy life shattered when she finds herself covered in blood on a deserted train platform with no memory of what has happened, lawyer Brek Cuttler is informed that she has died and is invited to join an elite team of lawyers who prosecute and defend souls at the Final Judgment.
When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey--named Beatrice and Virgil--and the epic journey they undertake together.
It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau realizes her only means of escape is to advertise her services as a domestic servant in England. Fate brings her ad to the attention of Christopher Rivers, handsome scion of the aristocratic Rivers family and master of Tyneford. An anxious Elise arrives at Tyneford and immediately falls under its spell. When Christopher's young son, Kit, returns home, the two strike up an unlikely friendship that will change Tyneford--and Elise--forever
The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. "See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much." But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi, though poor, enjoys her life until the Himalayan monsoons wash away her family's crops and she is sold to a brothel in India by her stepfather. She remembers her mother's wisdom, "Simply to endure is to triumph," until the day comes that she can reclaim her life.
Author of the much-praised medical memoir My Own Country, Verghese, who is a doctor as well as an author, now offers an expertly composed first novel about missionaries in India and Africa. In 1947, Sister Mary Joseph Praise leaves her missionary post in India to take a new position in Yemen. Traveling by ship to her new home, she saves the life of a fellow passenger--an English physician named Thomas Stone. Their meeting proves a fateful one, as Sister Praise comes to realize when she and Thomas are reunited at a hospital in Addis Ababa. Years later, she dies giving birth to twins--sons named Shiva and Marion, who are raised in Addis Ababa in an atmosphere of political upheaval. Their adopted parents are doctors at the local hospital, and the boys are raised within the confines of the medical complex. Marion serves as narrator for this poignant novel, recounting the story of how his foster parents met. As the two brothers become doctors themselves, they find that their destinies are bound up in each other and in the place they call home. Covering a 50-year span, Verghese's accomplished novel has plenty of narrative momentum, moving smoothly between exotic locales and exploring ambitious themes of race, identity and family. An insightful and assured writer, Verghese writes from the heart about medicine and politics--timely topics that are clearly dear to him.