Wednesday, October 28, 2009

167 - Cutting for Stone; Abraham Verghese

 Cutting for Stone is a multi-generational family saga that transports the reader all over the world: Africa, India, Europe, and the United States (New York City). The story has a heavy dose of medical science, often graphic in detail, but extremely interesting. Much of the action in this story takes place in hospital settings, beginning at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia is also in the midst of a revolution.

Marion and Shiva Praise Stone are conjoined identical twins, born to a nun from Madras, named Sister Mary Joseph Praise. Sister Mary Joseph Praise bled to death giving birth, and the father of the twins, Thomas Stone, had not even been aware that she was pregnant. Thomas Stone is a British surgeon, who cannot deal with all that has just happened, and as a result, he flees the country.

The infants are successfully separated at the head, and are raised by Hema and Ghosh, two Indian physicians at the hospital where they were born. As boys the two children were close friends, as adults often rivals. Shiva was the quieter of the two brothers, and almost socially inept. Both Marion and Shiva go on to become physicians like their birth father, and the parents who raised them.

Cutting for Stone was one of those rare books that left a lasting impression. I took much longer reading this 500++ book, than most any other book I've read for several reasons. I did not want the story to end, and I was afraid that I would gloss over some beautiful passages if I hurried through this book. The novel has beautifully drawn characters, great scenery and sense of place, and a bittersweet ending, that I did not expect. This is one book that is not to be missed, and it is sure to be one of the best books I've read this year. (This review is based both on the printed version and the audio book, which was beautifully narrated by: Sunil Malhotra). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

17 comments:

  1. I've had this one on my wish list for a while. From reading your review it looks like I need to move it up on the list.

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  2. I have owned this book for awhile and can never seem to get around to reading it. So glad you liked it!

    -Amy
    Life by Candlelight

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  3. A book that you don't want to end sounds wonderful. It would be perfect for cold, dreary days this winter.

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  4. I would not have known about this book if it weren't for your lovely review. I love books that I want to savor rather than rushing through.

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  5. I have read several glowing reviews of this book and think that it sounds just about perfect. Thanks for the excellent review, I will definitely grabbing a copy when I can!

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  6. I keep hearing wonderful things about this one but I am such a sucker for a good cover and this one doesn't pull me in that much. However, I certainly cannot avoid a wonderful book just because of the cover! I need to just get over it!

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  7. This sounds like my kind of book... multi-generational family saga, medical subplot, and your seal of approval. I feel like I should head to the bookstore immediately!

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  8. I adored this book, and when I first saw the cover (because I read it as an ARC) I just wanted to cry for the author, because it is one of the worst,non-compelling covers! And it is, as you know, a truly memorable book!

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  9. I'm adding this to my wish list. Thanks for the great review.

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  10. This sounds like a great book-I admit without your blog I would never have heard of it

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  11. Your review make this book sound like a great read. I have been holding off until I am in the mood for something long and heavy.

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  12. The book sounds absolutely intriguing. Now lets find a way to
    get it.

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  13. I've had this one on my wishlist for ages, but it is so expensive and my library haven't got any copies yet. I'm going to have to wait patiently for a while longer...

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  14. I have both the book and the audio - neither of which I have gotten to, yet! I'm really looking forward to it, though. I'm so glad to read that you didn't want it to end. That's a very encouraging statement, especially when it is a chunkster!

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  15. You make this novel sound so wonderful Diane. I'm very glad it's sitting in my tbr pile. I've been shying away from it because of size.

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  16. I have heard nothing but amazing praise for this one, which means I might have to get it for myself soon!

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  17. You make me want to crack the spine finally on this book! I've had it in my TBR pile for a long time and your review has just put it on top of the pile! Thanks for the great review!

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