Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Co-joined (Siamese) twins are separated at birth but sustain an unbreakable bond throughout the vicissitudes of life in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, and even after one of the twins, Marion, must flee to the United States for political reasons. A good picture of life in Ethiopia and lots of medical details (both boys become doctors) in addition to thematic elements concerning family loyalty and the meaning of commitment make this 560 page first novel by Verghese, a doctor himself, worth the read.

Other, more detailed reviews:
The Book Lady’s Blog: “Verghese’s writing is intense, detailed, and precise but in no way cold or detached. His characters are fully realized, and their relationships with each other ring of truth. There are moments of tension, surprise, delight, pain, betrayal, confusion, and loss, and every last one is beautifully done.”

Word Lily: “I loved much about this book. I loved the medicine, the twins, Ethiopia, the family. . . . The questions of faith held my attention best (not surprisingly).”

Amanda at Calder Reading Room: “In all, I can see why this book was recommended by NPR, the writing was really good, it was witty at parts, touching at others, but it had too much sex for me.”

Just one more program note from Semicolon: I think this one will appeal to fans of The Kite Runner (Semicolon review here) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (Semicolon review here) both by Khaled Hosseini (unless it was just the Afghanistan angle that drew you into those two books). Cutting for Stone has the same foreign-ness, the same cultural detail, the same vivid characterization, the same universal themes explored within a cross-cultural history.

Writen by Sherry

I'm a Christian, the homeschooling mom of eight (yes, all mine) children, married to a NASA engineer, and a confirmed bookaholic. I like old books, conservative politics, and new and interesting ideas. My hair is grey, my favorite clothes are red, and I love purple. Come on in and enjoy the blog. Be sure to tell me what you think before you leave.

7 thoughts on “Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

  1. Rats! I saw this book at the bookstore yesterday and almost bought it Then I decided against it and put it back, Guess I’ll have to go back and get it. Glad you reviewed it!

  2. I am having such a hard time with this book!! I wanted to love it, because Verghese’s memoir about treating AIDS in the very early years in rural TN was excellent.

    I’m over 1/2 way through, and for some reason it’s not grabbing me. I know it’s gotten excellent reviews, so I keep wondering “What’s wrong with me??” It’s not like I normally read suspense genre novels — I LOVE character driven fiction.

    Okay–thanks for the therapy session in your comment field.

  3. This was high on my list to read when it first came out, but I had lost track of it. Now its on my radar again.

  4. This has been on my list, too, but I MUST get through quite a few others before I can pick it up. Glad to know you find it worthwhile!

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