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Cutting For Stone

by Abraham Verghese

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese X
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 560 pages
    Jan 2010, 560 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
I liked this book! I especially admired how Verghese vividly described the primary characters' unvarnished gut feelings and urges: love and hate, unrequited love and betrayal, excessive self-centeredness, compassion toward others, necessary self-survival actions and the resulting guilt and fear and a willingness to give up one's life for the sake of another. I will definitely remember the humanness of these characters.

Much of the book takes place in Ethiopia. Verghese describes the political turmoil which took place in that country throughout much of the twentieth century. He also realistically describes how honorable people had to "play politics" with despots to protect themselves and their non-government organization (in this case a hospital for the poor) in a third-world country. I gained a greater appreciation for the work Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Charities and others are doing.

Must Read
Rarely does a book come along that engages me on so many levels – gorgeous writing, interesting and sympathetic characters, fascinating setting, gripping narrative. Cutting for Stone is a story of love’s many varied forms – brotherly, spousal, unrequited, sexual, parental, love of country. From its first pages I felt myself in the hands of a master storyteller and so deliberately slowed my reading to better gain every ounce of pleasure it offered. Verghese is a new author for me. I am adding him to my ‘must read’ list!

Cutting For Stone
This story that spans decades and countries could have easily lost focus but the writer grabs your attention from the beginning and doesn't let go.

You care about these twin boys who were left without their parents and you want to know what their fate will be.

The medical descriptions were interesting to read even if at times a bit too real. I didn't want to imagine some of these things but I really liked reading about the love of medicine and how it is a calling not because of the prestige or money it can bring but because of the good it serves.

An impressive fiction debut.

A Must Read
I loved everything about this book! Most of all I loved the characters. Verghese has filled this book with very real, very rich characters. I will miss them now that I am finished with the book. This is one of those stories that will stay with me forever. You must read this book.

A Captivating Novel
In the hands of a lesser writer, this relatively long book could become tedious. For example, it takes nearly 100 pages for the twins to get born, because Vergehese keeps shifting the point of view among six or seven characters. But he creates each one as a unique individual with a fascinating back story and makes you care about them all. This is a sprawling story, but one that keeps the reader captivated throughout. Yes, Verghese uses his medical background (sometimes a bit too extensively; several episodes seem unnecessarily long and complex for the average reader), but his focus is on the relationships between family, friends, and coworkers.

I had a particular interest in this book because I have sponsored two children from Ethiopia, and I appreciated learning more about the country, its people, and their plight.

Highly recommended.

Cutting for Stone - an unforgettable read!
I took my time with this book in order to savor not only the story & characters but also the life lessons revealed. Don't miss these lessons by skimming through this beautiful work! I've not read a book of this magnitude and significance for a long, long time. This is definitely a Must Read for 2009. Book Clubs who are dedicated to reading the finest of books will find the discussion worth every minute spent in reading this book - allow 6 weeks.

Cutting for Stone
Somehow I was drawn to this book; perhaps it was because of my background and interest in medicine. Abraham Verghese has written a wonderful novel filled with the passion only a true physician can describe.

He has taken us back to a time and place where the study and practice of medicine was undertaken because of the hunger for knowledge, the dedication to the patient, and the love of the craft. The doctors and staff of the Missing Hospital quite often learned by doing and found that the patients in the area were not necessarily textbook cases.

Love for medicine is not the only subject that Verghese's novel touches on. He tells a tale of love for God, the strength of family and the plight of the poor in a third world country. Most importantly, he writes of the closeness of twins born connected physically then separated and yet forever remain undivided in mind and spirit.

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.

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