Katherine (Albuquerque NM)
A Rewarding But Uneven Effort
The first two parts of Cutting for Stone are fabulous. The characters come off the page and are entirely real. The reader is right there with them in the hospital in Ethiopia and their stories are fascinating. Unfortunately the second two parts do not live up to the promise of the first two. In the second two parts, the pace of the story speeds up and something is lost. The characters of the young people, Marion, Shiva and Genet are never as meticulously realized as those of their elders. The plot relies on too many highly unlikely coincidences and the story that was so very real for the first half of the book becomes difficult to believe. I look forward to his next book in hopes that it lives up to the promise of the first parts of this one. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Half of A Yellow Sun, Sea of Poppies, or Sacred Games.
Julie (Jefferson ME)
Cutting for Stone
In his prologue, Mr. Verghese establishes an epic storyline, designates a narrator, introduces the main characters and invites the reader to try to solve the mystery of family relationships. With such an inclusive introduction, what is left to fill the remaining 543 pages? Plenty!
I enjoyed Verghese's medical expertise as surgery description in both horrific and heroic forms enhanced the flow of the plot. I also liked the realistic setting within Ethiopia's historic struggle for a stable government.
Above all, this novel is a love story of Titanic magnitude whose relationships require more than sacrifice to endure. Forgiveness may be required, but not always available and loyalty occurs in bonds that are not necessarily connected by bloodlines. This book embodies the struggle for love redeemed - all kinds. A coming-of -age story and a must read for saga lovers!
Pat (San Antonio TX)
Cutting for Stone
The novel takes the reader in and out of the operating theatre. Diseases are described and medical terms are used. The reader learns just as Marion, the narrator, learns the difference between the Art and the Science of Medicine and the blending of the two. Even Matron, a minor character, plays an important role explaining how donated money to the hospital is disbursed. She is courageous and she displays good common sense. Fundamental truths are stated in a direct manner. The story line is compelling and the characters are well rounded. Strange cultural practices are described without passing judgment. As the narrator matures, he learns that life - "you live forward, but understand it backward."
This book will be on our reading list for next year. It is a must read!
Anna (Oak Ridge TN)
An amazing read!
Having read My Own Country by Verghese I looked forward to his novel. It grabbed me with the first sentence. I was a bit frustrated that it took several chapters to get to what is happening in that sentence. The story has many twists and turns and is set in a part of the world that I know nothing about. There were many medical procedures that I didn't understand but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book. I would have given it a 5 rating if it had been edited better. There were some chapters that didn't have any connection to the basic story. I was impatient to get through them so I could get back to the main story. That said, it was hard to put the book down. I wanted to know what happened!
Christine (Highland UT)
Cutting for Stone was one of the best novels I've read in a long time.
The narrator is Marion Stone, who begins his life in Ethiopia. His story includes "his"tory of his biological parents, his surrogate parents, his twin brother, his love, his passion for medicine, his witnessing of Ethiopian history and unrest, his move to New York, and his eventual life as a surgeon. There are incredibly complicated relationships between Marion and his twin, Marion and the love of his life, and Marion and his father. Abraham Verghese does an extraordinary job of weaving all of these lives and events together in a way that is believable and so full of the human spirit.
Passion, pain, suffering, guilt, hidden truths, forgiveness and redemption act as cogs that continue to move the story forward with a force that made me look forward to every single page. Abraham is a gifted storyteller. I am sure this novel will not only be a bestseller, but will be among those having a lasting impact on anyone who reads it.
Laura (Atlanta GA)
Read this one!
Cutting for Stone is a family saga that has it all - birth and death, sin and forgiveness, love and hate, politics and medicine - wrapped in a balanced and gripping plot involving compelling characters and exotic locations. Verghese tells a great story with none of the overwriting so common to "big" novels. His fiction debut is even better than his outstanding nonfiction (My Own Country). This was the best "curl up with a good book" read I've had in ages.
Mary Lou (Shenandoah Junction WV)
Cutting for Stone
"Cutting for Stone" is a gripping story that begins in Ethiopia and unfolds over decades and continents. It is a story of coming of age, of passion and of tragedy, but mostly, it is a story of hope and commitment.
Dr. Verghese's descriptions of places and incidents were so vivid, I felt like I was with the characters. looking over their shoulders and eavesdropping. This is one of the best and most well written books I've read in a long time.