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Cutting for Stone eReader

by Abraham Verghese

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A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novelan 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 politicstheir passion for the same womanthat 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 himnearly destroying himMarion 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.

Don't read this book when you have to wake up early in the morning -- it will definitely interfere with getting to bed on time. At least, that was the case for me. I couldn't put it down. Even when I thought it got a bit melodramatic and over the top towards the end, I felt so connected to the main character, Marion, that I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. This saga crosses over generations of a family of doctors living and working at a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It chronicles the tragedies and triumphs of this small community against the backdrop of modern Ethiopian history. I loved learning more about Ethiopia and Eritrea, and I loved the incredibly precise and detailed descriptions about surgery that only a surgeon could write. I also loved the fact that every few pages, there was a word that I didn't know -- Verghese's vocabulary is immense and inspiring. The characters felt very real in this novel in the sense that sometimes my loyalties shifted, as they do in real life with real humans. Sometimes, I loved Hema, sometimes I was frustrated with her. I always loved Ghosh, although I hated everyone except for Shiva during the puppy scene. Genet was a femme fatale if ever there was one, except that she was the greatest victim of her own seduction. This is the kind of book that I can't wait to talk about with a friend. It's long but engrossing. It would be a great vacation book or something to keep you going through a long plane ride.

When I was in the 5Th grade I learned that books could transport me to wonderful and magically places. That I could travel to outer space or just get a peek at another person life.As I grew older and life had jaded me I lose some of that magic. I read to just escaped, not learn, not travel to far off places, or even to better understand myself or others. "Cutting for Stone" for was an amazing book. It allow me to take a journey with this family over the course of years that allowed me to celebrates their joys and mourn their loses and pain. It made my laugh and cry, but also reminded me that we are all connected, that our faiths are interwoven. I came to this book with no prior knowledge of the subject matter or author. I was looking for books online with the local library and it was available. The best luck I had this week. I listened to it on my ipod, another bit of good luck because there are a lot of medical terms and Indian and African names that I may have gotten caught up on and missed the magic of the story.

First, a disclaimer: Im a non-fiction reader; I only read this novel because it was given to me by a loved one as a birthday gift, so in appreciation for her generosity, I read it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it: its beautifully written, intriguingly plotted and piercingly insightful. In this way, then, this book turned out to be a truly meaningful gift, as I dont often find fiction so compelling and, as in this case, a complete page-turner.

Cutting for Stone is the story of twin brothers whose complementary inclinations are both blessing and curse, as are the few but meaningful contrasts between them. As their story unfolds, a plethora of interesting and unconventional characters is introduced, most often indelibly so. I have to admit that some of the main (and even ancillary) characters are so well-drawn and I was so drawn into the story about them that I began to think of them as real people, often saying to myself as I read that this one reminds me of so-and-so (whom Ive known in my own life) ... and that one or I often found myself having a debate in my head about disagreeing with some of the choices that the characters made. Even though the paperback version that I read has almost 660 pages of storyline, it literally and figuratively flew by because of the engrossing way in which it's written. Now I remember why people are so passionate about great fiction.... I could quibble a little as in Vergheses vocabulary is so vast that, frankly, its a distraction at times, especially when a lay reader is attempting to keep up with the often dense medical aspects of the story but other than a minor issue or two, this book is a great read and a great experience. So much so, in fact, that you may find yourself asking what you learned from the characters triumphs and tragedies as I did. And I could draw parallels to The Great Gatsby and other iconic works relative to how its major themes are revealed, which is another important aspect of the narrative that I appreciate. In sum and with the disclaimer that its only the sixth piece of fiction that Ive read in the last decade I would say that its not hyperbole to consider this dense, lush, imaginative work a modern classic. Accordingly, I recommend it highly to fans of historical fiction, love stories, bildungsromans and novels with a significant medical motif ... or anyone looking to be transported into another world that can, at times, seem all too real.

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