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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Abraham Verghese

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,079379680 (4.28)631
Title:Cutting for Stone
Authors:Abraham Verghese
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 667 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)

  1. 153
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (momofthreewi)
    momofthreewi: Both are rich in character development and centered around unique families.
  2. 144
    I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (JGoto)
    JGoto: Also about the ties & love/hate relationship between identical twins.
  3. 112
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (paulkid)
    paulkid: Physician-fathers, twins, poor decisions.
  4. 101
    The Cider House Rules by John Irving (GoST)
    GoST: Both books relate the eventful, coming-of-age stories of physicians and their struggle to learn their craft, complete with detailed descriptions of medical procedures.
  5. 80
    Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 40
    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (ddelmoni)
    ddelmoni: Exceptional characters and storyline, set in South Africa during WWII. Exceptional writing. If you liked Cutting for Stone you'll like The Power of One.
  7. 63
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (someproseandcons)
    someproseandcons: Both books are family and community sagas centered around secrets, and both books are carried by a strong and compelling voice.
  8. 30
    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Iudita)
  9. 20
    Chang and Eng: A Novel by Darin Strauss (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Cutting for Stone portrays the life of a pair of conjoined twins separated at birth; Eng and Chang is the fictional biography of the famous original Siamese twins, who remained joined at the sternum throughout their lives. Readers interested in conjoined twins may enjoy both novels.… (more)
  10. 10
    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (laytonwoman3rd)
  11. 21
    Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both novels have a medical focus and are set in Ethiopia. The main characters in each novel were orphaned at an early age and each spent their childhoods in a religious setting.
  12. 00
    The House of Hope and Fear: Life in a Big City Hospital by Audrey Young (ainsleytewce)
  13. 00
    Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood by Nega Mezlekia (meggyweg)
  14. 00
    Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: This was recently featured on NPR- go to thier website for an author interview.
  15. 12
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Miranda_Paige)

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» See also 631 mentions

English (369)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Basque (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (379)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
3 1/2 stars. I greatly enjoyed the middle section with the twins coming of age in Ethiopia, but I found the story in the US less compelling. The writing is often lovely, and Marion a sympathetic narrator, but I often found it over long. I finished it, but I'm not sorry to be done. ( )
  Helena81 | Nov 8, 2014 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
What struck me throughout was the universality of it. The story is Ethiopian, yet could be from anywhere in the world. This is a human story.
There's so much to say:
- this book is full of medical descriptions. For the squeamish...warning, there's a lot of blood and cutting open of bodies. Yet always, there's compassion & caring for the person. The patient is more than a body, s/he is a person above all else and the doctors in this book don't forget that.
- the story is about family, loyalty and forgiveness. This family is not your usual pa-ma-kids. There are missing members who are just as much a part of the family as those who are present, the neighbours & friends are part of the family. Family above all.
- each character did their best but these characters are all flawed. They are human in their decisions and endeavours. They are good but not all of their actions are good.

I really liked Gosh and Heema. When I think of all the alternate lives Marion & Shiva could have had (depending on who raised them) and how their lives may have turned out, they were lucky to find such stable, loving parents as Gosh & Heema.
Yet.......how different the future would have been, too. Yet it was as perfect as it could have been. That's the conundrum of this story. Everything can change on a dime, things are set into motion at every decision.

Gemet. She's a puzzle. She grows up in the same household as the boys, is treated as their sister. Yet they feel connected and loved; she feels disconnected and alone. Her role in the story stems from this disconnectedness. Family, again. They mean so much to our selves & our lives.

The characters and story of this book are lovely. Not perfect, sometimes flawed but always lovely. ( )
  PetraBC | Oct 23, 2014 |
i thought this to be a beautiful novel. verghese's style is compelling and lovely. there's a lot going on in this story - the arc of the characters and the plot, medical lessons, lessons of history and politics (used with artistic license, of course) - there was opportunity for this to go right off the rails in trying to address so many things in one novel - albeit a bit of a chunky novel. but at no time did i feel as though anything verghese was including took away from the story he was telling - nothing felt padded or unnecessary. the story flowed really well for me and i had a hard time putting the book down. i think my only hesitation with the story has to do with genet, a secondary, yet important, character. we don't really get to know her and are only given access to her as a reactionary person - but what is she really thinking, feeling, motivated by? we never really know. she fumbles to explain at a later point in the story, but it was a thin moment in the book for me. that she is a catalyst is never in doubt. i suppose i just feel that a character so integral to a story perhaps should have been a little more focused. (if that makes sense??) so for me, genet was frustrating. the idea of empathy in doctors, in the practice of medicine, is a bit of a side-interest of mine, so i did really enjoy seeing it addressed in literature. my thoughts on the novel are not wholly together yet, but i wanted to get something noted here while it is all so fresh in my head. i am glad i finally read this book (it's been sitting on my shelf since its release), and i am very glad i enjoyed it so much. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Sep 7, 2014 |
This is going to be a difficult book to review. It's an epic novel (700 pages) that covers the life of a twin growing up in Ethiopia who becomes a surgeon. You find out in great detail about the life of his biological parents, his adoptive parents, several other adults in his life, his brother, his love, life in Ethiopia, life as an immigrant to America, and detailed medical procedures both in Ethiopia and in urban America. Just to name a few things. ;-)

I felt like the book could have been better if it was edited a bit, but that being said, I did enjoy it. The writing is beautiful and the subject matter is fascinating. Just know that you'll need a bit of patience and time if you decide to read it. ( )
  japaul22 | Aug 10, 2014 |
Wonderfully plotted story with a string of authentic and believable characters. It is, by turns, uplifting and devastating. It's a long book, but the pace rarely slackens. It's a complex plot, but it never leaves you stranded. There is a large cast of characters, but Varghese weaves them together so well that you never feel the need to go back to pick up a thread.
Varghese is a literary writer and many readers will pick up on the allusions, hints and direct quotes, although it would be a polymath to recognise them all. Check out the acknowledgements at the end of the book for an interesting summary.
A very minor criticism is that I found the denouement, which runs to 25 pages, rather too long. There were some loose threads to tie up, but I was ready for a quicker solution once the main characters returned home. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Jun 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abraham Vergheseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bull, R.Map artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hellier, GavinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malhotra, SunilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tan, VirginiaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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And because I love this life
I know I shall love death as well
The child cries out when
From the right breast the mother
Takes it away, in the very next moment
To find in the left one
Its consolation.
-- Rabindranath Tagore,
from Gitanjuli
For George and Mariam Verghese Scribere jussit amor
First words
Prologue: After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mother's womb, my brother Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954.
Chapter 1: Sister Mary Joseph Praise had come to Missing Hospital from India, seven years before our birth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in Ethiopia, sharing a deep bond that has helped them survive the loss of their parents and the country's political upheaval, but when they both fall for the same woman, their bond is broken and the two go their separate ways, until a medical crisis reunites them.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375714367, Paperback)

Amazon Exclusive: John Irving Reviews Cutting for Stone

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times--winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. In 1992, Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules--a film with seven Academy Award nominations. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of Cutting for Stone:

That Abraham Verghese is a doctor and a writer is already established; the miracle of this novel is how organically the two are entwined. I’ve not read a novel wherein medicine, the practice of it, is made as germane to the storytelling process, to the overall narrative, as the author manages to make it happen here. The medical detail is stunning, but it never overwhelms the humane and narrative aspects of this moving and ambitious novel. This is a first-person narration where the first-person voice appears to disappear, but never entirely; only in the beginning are we aware that the voice addressing us is speaking from the womb! And what terrific characters--even the most minor players are given a full history. There is also a sense of great foreboding; by the midpoint of the story, one dreads what will further befall these characters. The foreshadowing is present in the chapter titles, too--‘The School of Suffering’ not least among them! Cutting for Stone is a remarkable achievement.--John Irving

(Photo © Maki Galimberti)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:16 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in Ethiopia, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.

(summary from another edition)

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