One of BookBrowse's Top 3 Favorite Books of 2009
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mothers death in childbirth and their fathers disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politicstheir passion for the same womanthat will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to himnearly destroying himMarion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
An unforgettable journey into one mans remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.
After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mothers womb,
my brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the
twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths at
an elevation of eight thousand feet in the thin air of Addis Ababa, capital city
of Ethiopia. The miracle of our birth took place in Missing Hospitals Operating
Theater 3, the very room where our mother, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, spent most
of her working hours, and in which she had been most fulfilled.
When our mother, a nun of the Diocesan Carmelite Order of Madras, unexpectedly went into labor that September morning, the big rain in Ethiopia had ended, its rattle on the corrugated tin roofs of Missing ceasing abruptly like a chatterbox cut off in midsentence. Over night, in that hushed silence, the meskel flowers bloomed, turning the hillsides of Addis Ababa into gold. In the meadows around Missing the sedge won its ...
As a bookseller, I live for novels like Cutting for Stone - big, fat,
beautiful novels as beguiling and enchanting as babies, as wise and as generous
as old sages. They are the bread-and-butter novels I can't wait to sell, the
books people talk about all year long, the books they buy for their sisters and
fathers, the book they press into the hands of friends with insistent, almost
violent exhortations. Read this. You will love it. You HAVE to read this
(Reviewed by Lucia Silva).
Full Review (1028 words).
The Hippocratic Oath
The title, Cutting for Stone, refers to a line in the Hippocratic Oath, and to the last name of the three main characters, all of them surgeons. As Abraham Verghese quotes it, the line from the Oath reads "I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest. I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art." While this line refers specifically to surgery for bladder stones (which were quite prevalent in the 4th century BC), it's also a directive against surgery of all kinds. Ancient Greek physicians did not practice surgery, instead referring their patients to trained surgeons. Surgery was then considered a secondary skill, and surgeons ...
If you liked Cutting For Stone, try these:
When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New Yorks Lower East Side, to Seattles Jazz District, and up to...
An epic tale of a father and two sons, of betrayals and loyalties, of a family unraveling in the wake of Ethiopias revolution.
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