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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Abraham Verghese

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,680434561 (4.27)649
Title:Cutting for Stone
Authors:Abraham Verghese
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 667 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:medicine, Africa, fiction, kindle, read2013, bookclub

Work details

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)

  1. 164
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (momofthreewi)
    momofthreewi: Both are rich in character development and centered around unique families.
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    JGoto: Also about the ties & love/hate relationship between identical twins.
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    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.
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    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.
  8. 73
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    someproseandcons: Both books are family and community sagas centered around secrets, and both books are carried by a strong and compelling voice.
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    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.
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  11. 21
    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)
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    novelcommentary: This was recently featured on NPR- go to thier website for an author interview.
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» See also 649 mentions

English (424)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Basque (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (434)
Showing 1-5 of 424 (next | show all)
Cutting For Stone- Abraham Verghese – 667 pg. 7/8/10
5 stars

Marion Stone has an amazing, colorful, and tragic personal history. Cutting for Stone is Marion’s story, as he tries to piece together the missing fragments of his
life. The book’s prologue establishes Marion as the narrator of his own story as he looks back on his 1954 birth in Addis Ababa. It was no ordinary birth. Marion was one of conjoined twins born to an Indian Carmelite nun and an ex-patriot English surgeon. Marion’s life revolves around the tragedy and the shocking scandal of his birth. As he and his brother grow up in the place of their birth with loving adoptive parents, all other issues seem to somehow circle back to the circumstances of his birth.
Much of this book is set in Ethiopia as it evolves following World War Two. The end of Italian occupation, attempted coups and the eventual revolution form a backdrop to Marion’s childhood. He and his brother, Shiva, grow up as the privileged sons of Missing (Mission) Hospital’s two remaining surgeons. Verghese provides vivid descriptions of the combined Indian/Ethiopian culture and the overwhelming poverty of the surrounding area. Missing Hospital is full of memorable and lovable characters. Surgical procedures are described precisely, as are the surgeon’s doubts and determination. It was easy to become engrossed in this busy place and to stay there.
Verghese wrote a rather lengthy acknowledgement section to this lengthy book. I appreciated that he took the time to attribute specific phrases and ideas that he used to their many sources. I’ve added several books to my list as a result. I was not surprised to see that he thanked John Irving for his help and friendship. Cutting for Stone reminded me strongly of A Prayer for Owen Meaney in its structure and themes.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
It is no mystery why this book is such a hit with people in the medical profession, and those close to them. It shows how being a doctor is a passion, a calling, one that requires dedication and sacrifice. I enjoyed this book, however, I thought 600 pages was a bit much for such a lackluster payoff. Everything up until the end was so believable, I was wondering how autobiographical this was… and then it completely threw suspension of disbelief right out the window. All the information about Ethiopia and Eritrea was very interesting and informative, for example I had no idea where the term “Rastafari” originated before reading this book. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
I loved this book. I feel like I took a trip to Ethiopia. It is the kind of book that I would start reading and completely forget about everything else around me.

I found the surgical procedures fascinating, but it isn't for the squeamish. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
The unusual (for me) setting, the plot and the superb character development made this a worthwhile, interesting read for me. ( )
  BridgitDavis | Apr 18, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book. I frequently find myself thinking about some of the medical practices described as techniques learned or used by many of the medical characters. Because so much of the book takes place in Addis Ababa, it has made me more curious about practicing medicine in and outside of the United States. This book also did not ignore the political issues of the time, but the characters remain a family and their relationships is still what the story is about. ( )
  Lylee | Apr 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 424 (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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:49 -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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