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Cutting for Stoneby Abraham Verghese
I'm used to reading good authors, but Verghese is so good, he blew me away. He writes with such detached compassion that Ethiopia becomes your homeland, and Matron, Ghosh, Marion and Shiva Stone, and all the rest become your friends, your neighbors, and your family. Do yourself a favor: read this book.
Cutting for Stone is both an excellent read and a gift that keeps on giving: I've recommended this book to many, many customers — some of whom have come back to thank me personally and buy more copies as gifts. The plot travels in many diverse directions, but eventually converges to create one solid story; you'll love, laugh, hate, and cry throughout its panoramic unfolding. This is such an outstanding novel, one can only dream of an encore.
Synopses & Reviews
A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel — an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.
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 mother's death in childbirth and their father's 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 politics — their passion for the same woman — that 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 him — nearly destroying him — Marion 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 man's remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.
"Abraham Verghese has long been one of my favorite authors. Yet, much as I admire his abundant gifts as both writer and physician, nothing could have prepared me for the great achievement of his first novel. Here is an extraordinary imagination, artfully shaped and forcefully developed, wholly given in service to a human story that is deeply moving, utterly gripping, and, indeed, unforgettable. Cutting for Stone is a work of literature as noble and dramatic as that ancient practice-medicine-that lies at the heart of this magnificent novel." John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner and Reservation Road
"Empathy for our frail human condition resonates throughout Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone. By tracing the development of a narrator unlike any other in our literature-from his nearly mythic beginnings in Ethiopia to his immigrant life in contemporary America-Verghese demonstrates that the supreme skill of a physician lies not in his hands but in his heart. No contemporary novelist has written so well about the human body. Cutting for Stone is an amazing and moving achievement which reminds us of the miracle of being alive." Tom Grimes, author of A Stone of the Heart
"I finished Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone last night — it's absolutely fantastic! Holy cow, this book should be a huge success. It has everything: nuns, conjoined twins, civil war, and medicine — I was thinking that if Vikram Seth and Oliver Sacks were to collaborate on a four-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy set in Africa, they could only hope to come up with something this moving and entertaining. I would love to offer a quote for this. But what sort of quote do you think would be most helpful? Should it be: 'a luminous exploration of the boundaries between self and other, public duty and private obligation that limns the notion of I-ness...etc. etc'? That's how quotes usually look to me — like they were written by a literary theorist. Help! In any case, all of that is trivial. The main thing is, congratulations to Abraham, he's written a marvelous novel!" Mark Salzman
"Cutting for Stone is a tremendous accomplishment. The writing is vivid and thrilling, and the story completely absorbing, with its pregnant Indian nun, demon-ridden British surgeon, Siamese twins orphaned and severed at birth, and narrative strands stretching across four continents. A tale this wild is perilous, but there is not a false step anywhere. Accomplished non-fiction writers do not necessarily make accomplished novelists, but with Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese has become both. This is a novel sure to receive a great amount of critical attention — and attention from readers, too. I feel lucky to have gotten to read it." Atul Gawande
"Abraham Verghese has always written with grace, precision and feeling [but] he's topped himself with Cutting for Stone....A vastly entertaining and enlightening book." Tracy Kidder
"Cutting for Stone is nothing short of masterful —a riveting tale of love, medicine, and the complex dynamic of twin brothers. It is beautifully conceived and written. The settings are wonderfully pictorial. There is no doubt in my mind that Cutting for Stone will endure in the permanent literature of our time." Richard Selzer, surgeon and author of Letters to a Young Doctor
"With all the traits of a great 19th century novel...Cutting for Stone is destined for success." San Francisco Chronicle
"Contemporary literary comparisons are not easy with Verghese. At times he seems to be reaching for the magical realism of Gabriel Garci a Marquez, but with a more pragmatic bent." Houston Chronicle
"Verghese's writing infuses both surprise and humor as political and moral crises emerge at the hospital and within his characters." Providence Journal
"Verghese writes beautifully....[R]eaders will likely forgive him his coincidences for the pleasure of seeing everything work out, more or less, well." Dallas Morning News
"Abraham Verghese's first novel is a whopper, illuminating the magic and the tragedy of our lives, brimming with wisdom about the human condition. Such fun to read, too." Newsday
"Suffering, in medical and psychological senses, is the armature of much of the action and character in Cutting for Stone, but there is heroism as well." Chicago Tribune
"[A] staggering work, a beautifully crafted account of one man's birth, exile and return to his native Ethiopia." Rocky Mountain News
"[A]bsorbing, exhilarating and exhausting....[Verghese's] intimate depiction of humanity makes your pulse race, your eyes tear, and your lungs exhale a satisfied sigh." Seattle Times
A stunning debut novel from the author of My Own Country: an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, fathers and sons, doctors and patients, exile and home.
A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel—an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.
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 politics—their passion for the same woman—that 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 him—nearly destroying him—Marion 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.
About the Author
Abraham Verghese is Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was the founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, where he is now an adjunct professor. He is the author of My Own Country, a 1994 NBCC Finalist and a Time Best Book of the Year, and The Tennis Partner, a New York Times Notable Book. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has published essays and short stories that have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
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