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Cutting for Stone (2009)

by Abraham Verghese

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,451536806 (4.26)786
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 mother's death in childbirth and their father's 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 politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that 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 him -- nearly destroying him -- Marion 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.… (more)
  1. 235
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (momofthreewi)
    momofthreewi: Both are rich in character development and centered around unique families.
  2. 131
    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.
  3. 132
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (paulkid)
    paulkid: Physician-fathers, twins, poor decisions.
  4. 154
    I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (JGoto)
    JGoto: Also about the ties & love/hate relationship between identical twins.
  5. 81
    Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 94
    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 40
    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Iudita)
  9. 30
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (sturlington)
  10. 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.
  11. 10
    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (laytonwoman3rd)
  12. 22
    Chang and Eng 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)
  13. 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.
  14. 00
    Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood by Nega Mezlekia (meggyweg)
  15. 22
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Miranda_Paige)
  16. 00
    The House of Hope and Fear: Life in a Big City Hospital by Audrey Young (ainsleytewce)
  17. 00
    The Citadel by A. J. Cronin (ainsleytewce)
  18. 00
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (sturlington)
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» See also 786 mentions

English (522)  Spanish (4)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (533)
Showing 1-5 of 522 (next | show all)
Best audiobook I have ever heard ( )
  clsnyder | Feb 27, 2024 |
Family Drama
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
This lengthy and over-written book contains the potential to be an interesting story. Twins separated from their parents early in life, life for Indian immigrants in Ethiopia, star-crossed lovers, loss and betrayal in families, delicate operations with life or death consequences: these all seem like the seeds of an interesting drama. In the end though, this is really only a kind of hero-story (or stories) suitable for surgeons. The author’s medical background pushes aside his evident writing skills in long passages of surgical jargon that read as if they are intended to impress his colleagues rather than provide context. Some of his main characters are a little one-dimensional and deserved more out of 600 pages. And he has been let down by editors who failed to resect the necrotic parts the text. It’s not a terrible book, but it could have been so much more. ( )
  breathslow | Jan 27, 2024 |
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.

Sad, romantic, beautiful, tragic, funny, gross, and scientific. It's just everything all rolled into one.

It starts a little slow, and it takes a bit of time to warm up to the people,but now I love them all so much I wish there was more to read.

This is the first book where I actually used my kindle's highlight feature to mark some passages because I liked them so much.

Just great. Sorry I waited so very long to read this and I hope that Verghese can write another fabulous novel like this. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
A stellar work filled with beautifully fleshed out characters, Shakespearian insights into our humanity, and a compelling story of separation and connection. I'm at a loss as to what to read next! ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 522 (next | show all)
Cutting for Stone - the phrase is from the Hippocratic oath - is about twins born joined at the head, in a mission hospital in Addis Ababa half a century ago. Their mother, a nun from Madras, does not survive the birth. Their father, a British surgeon called Thomas Stone, cannot bear the loss and flees, so Marion and Shiva are raised by two Indian doctors in the hospital where their parents worked; both become surgeons.
added by SunUp | editThe Guardian, Aida Edemariam (May 9, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abraham Vergheseprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 mother's death in childbirth and their father's 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 politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that 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 him -- nearly destroying him -- Marion 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.

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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.
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