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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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Cutting for Stone (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Abraham Verghese

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,905376708 (4.29)622
Member:dogearedpage
Title:Cutting for Stone
Authors:Abraham Verghese
Info:Vintage (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 667 pages
Collections:kindle, book group
Rating:*****
Tags:Ethyopia, Surgeons, confoined twins, liver transplant, fistula surgery, mission hospital, Book group Jan 2013

Work details

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)

2010 (29) 2011 (53) 2012 (32) Africa (202) book club (85) brothers (79) conjoined twins (29) doctors (123) ebook (47) Ethiopia (468) family (99) family saga (32) fiction (637) historical fiction (80) hospital (36) India (85) Kindle (68) literary fiction (33) medical (45) medicine (263) New York (34) novel (81) nuns (26) read (42) read in 2010 (25) read in 2011 (34) surgeons (51) surgery (46) to-read (164) twins (247)
  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 622 mentions

English (366)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Basque (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (376)
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
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 |
Cutting for Stone is a complex story about family, medicine, poverty, exile and revolution. I found it captivating. The story is told from the point of view of a young surgeon who was born a conjoined twin in an Ethiopian hospital.

Medical procedures are described graphically, which was part of what I found so fascinating. I've never read about wounds and surgeries in such detail. I also appreciated how much I learned about Ethiopia.

The story is an emotional one, with strong themes of familial bonds and betrayal.

A woman in my book club said that while she liked the book, she wouldn't recommend it to anyone. "I wouldn't give this to my daughter, for example." I said, "Funny, I got my copy from my mother!"

I'd recommend Cutting for Stone to anyone who enjoys heartwrenching stories on an international scale. (The word "heartwrenching" drew a few chuckles from my book club, but I'm sincere. Some of us do enjoy that sort of thing.) ( )
  keneumey | Jun 4, 2014 |
It's perhaps impossible for me to give 5 stars to any novel. There's always a point at which I resent plot resolution. That said, Cutting for Stone is almost flawless in terms of character development & integration of setting (Adis Adaba, Ethiopia; New York), historical context (1954 on)& environment (medicine, particularly surgery & gynecology). In one word, the most humane novel I've read in a long time. It saw me through several episodes of insomnia. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Loving this book. ( )
  Insolito | May 19, 2014 |
Those who most enjoyed the book commented on its characterisation, its exploration of a multitude of themes, and its description of historical events. They also tended to appreciate the lengthy descriptive passages describing medical procedures. These same descriptive passages, however, were the very same that put some of us off the book. Some of us found them too lengthy and too detailed. The profusion of characters and the jumping from one scene to another also made some feel that this made the book too disjointed - taken from a summary of my book group meeting. ( )
  jacquid | May 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 366 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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 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)

» see all 10 descriptions

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