What readers think of Cutting For Stone, plus links to write your own review.

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Cutting For Stone

by Abraham Verghese

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese X
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 560 pages

    Jan 2010, 560 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva
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There are currently 36 reader reviews for Cutting For Stone
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

Reading This Book Is the Literary Equivalent of Being Swept Off My Feet!
Oh, this book! Reading it was the literary equivalent of being swept off my feet!

Masterfully written by Abraham Verghese, this is the story of identical, conjoined twins Marion and Shiva, born in Ethiopia of a disgraced Roman Catholic nun from India and a talented, but socially inept white surgeon. Taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and New York City, this is an extraordinary saga of love, hate, brotherhood, ambition, the ingenuity of the science of medicine, violent political upheaval, and what it truly means to be a family.

The novel's strength is twofold: the superb storytelling and the vividly-rendered characters. It will fill your heart and then break it and then fill it again, proving this is a nearly perfect book.

Major Character Without a Name: Medicine/Surgery. Verghese is a medical doctor by profession, and his extensive knowledge of both medicine and surgery (routine and trauma) is on display throughout the book with detailed descriptions that I found it utterly fascinating. You will learn more about the human liver than you ever thought you would know in your lifetime. And it's not gratuitous. In fact, it adds enormously to the drama of the plot and the development of the characters.

Minor Character Without a Name: Food. Do not read this book when you are hungry. The descriptions of Ethiopian cuisine are mouthwatering—from injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture that is considered the national dish of Ethiopia and Eritrea, to wot, a stew or curry prepared with chicken, beef, or lamb, as well as a variety of vegetables and spices. (I looked online for a recipe for wot and found out it takes four days, 11 hours, and 35 minutes to make. Now I'm Googling the location of the nearest Ethiopian restaurant.)

This is one of those imaginative, monumental books that will appeal to almost everyone. I just know that years from now I will still be recommending it friends. If you're looking for a captivating read, choose this one. Now.

Amazing and intriguing story
From the first page I was drawn into this fascinating story, its power is its uniqueness, unpredictable story line and its main characters. I vote this my book of the year.

One of my favorite books
This book is fantastic!
Power Reviewer
Becky H

interesting on many levels
Although long (perhaps a bit too long), this tale of brothers holds your attention. When an Italian nun, woefully unprepared for a mission in Africa, turns up at a medical mission in Ethiopia, she is welcomed because of her skill with patients and her ability to serve as nurse to a highly skilled but disconnected surgeon. After she gives birth unexpectedly to twin boys, the story switches to the boys, raised at the mission, and the “family” at the mission that raises them to adulthood.
World War II and the civil war that later divides Ethiopia into political factions serve as the background for this fascinating tale of medicine, natives, doctors, politicians and family. Secrets and intrigue abound and are satisfyingly brought to a conclusion as the two boys search for their birth father and fulfilling lives in the midst of great love and great upheaval.
5 of 5 stars

Cutting for Stone
Our all-guys bookclub read this in a joint meeting with our spouse's all-girls bookclub -- everyone found this book to be an absolutely fascinating read about an area of the world few of us knew much about and a story line, rich characters, and sweeping prose that is first rate.
Sue Zugaj

The audio book is one of the best I've listened to. Some narrators 'read' to you.....this narrator brings the country and the characters to life - you are entertained and educated and won't be disappointed.

My thoughts & questions
I am almost finished - have really been saving the last few pages because I am in the process of reviewing contents. This has been an interesting book - many layers for all characters- right now I am trying to go back and find a direct reference to the title - I remember seeing it in the text. I have thought about the title a lot. This book would be ideal for someone who has done mission work / medical work for needy. I have worked at reading this book - it has taken me a week off and on, because I keep finding things I want to figure out. I loved Ghosh best of all characters. CML
Andy Greensfelder

Complexity of Character
I loved Cutting for Stone, including for some of the reasons it is criticized, like the inclusion of descriptions of medical procedures. Mostly I love the characterization of the narrator, Marion Stone, for the complex combination of sympathetic and maddening behavior, and attitudes. Marion sees his world through eyes that the reader knows often distort what he sees, a condition that is sometimes true for all of us. The distortions lead to both wonderful and disastrous decisions.

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