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Cutting for Stone (2009)

by Abraham Verghese

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,777511773 (4.26)744
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. 225
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (momofthreewi)
    momofthreewi: Both are rich in character development and centered around unique families.
  2. 121
    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. 154
    I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (JGoto)
    JGoto: Also about the ties & love/hate relationship between identical twins.
  4. 132
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (paulkid)
    paulkid: Physician-fathers, twins, poor decisions.
  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. 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
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (sturlington)
  13. 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)
  14. 00
    The Citadel by A. J. Cronin (ainsleytewce)
  15. 22
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Miranda_Paige)
  16. 00
    Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood by Nega Mezlekia (meggyweg)
  17. 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.
  18. 00
    The House of Hope and Fear: Life in a Big City Hospital by Audrey Young (ainsleytewce)
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» See also 744 mentions

English (501)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (511)
Showing 1-5 of 501 (next | show all)
This book was very well written and based on so very many facts. I learned a great deal about life in a colonized, revolutionary country, and about medical issues. I also learned about facilities in this country that treat "others," and how systemic racism is avery involved in much of their dysfunction. I felt for many of the characters, although I was not always certain which character was responsible for which action and thought. ( )
  suesbooks | Sep 22, 2022 |
For years now this wonderful book has been sitting on my unread books shelf. It has occasionally whispered my name, but I have always told it “next time.” I am so pleased that I finally broke that pattern, for this book is one of those not to be missed experiences. (Permission granted to my friend, Candi, to say “I told you so.”)

The author, Abraham Verghese, is a physician, and his experience and knowledge come through in spades. They add a level of realism and veracity to the story that might be missing in the hands of a non-professional. However, it is not his medical expertise that shines brightest in this story, it is his understanding of human beings and his ability to create characters who are real and warm and vulnerable.

Every time I thought I knew where this book was going, I got a surprise. Every surprise was well conceived, fit the narrative, and propelled the story forward to its natural conclusion. I grew to love Marion Stone, our narrator, and through him the multitude of interesting people who were so unlike anyone I have ever known and yet so human as to be instantly recognizable. Dr. Ghosh is someone I will never forget--the kind of man you hope to find somewhere in your life, a person to trust, love and learn from.

Cutting for Stone goes right into my favorites folder and on my keepers shelf at home. If it is sitting on your shelf, pick it up and read it. You will be glad you did.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Recommended highly. Good detail of that part of the world and medical terms. Also a touching book and sad and well written. Book club book ( )
  PatLibrary123 | Aug 9, 2022 |
My tears flowed uncontrollably when Shiva died. Shiva is usually narrated and seen from the perspective of Marion but you know he would have deemed his death worthy if his brother lived. He is a very interesting character, and I wish Verghese had given him more airtime. In contrast, the main character, Marion, seemed ordinary and even petty. He couldn't let go of his brother's betrayal and he admitted honestly that if he were in Shiva's shoes, he may not have donated half his liver. It is when we finished the story that we understand what Marion said in the story's beginning - that it is only with the telling of the story that his rift with Shiva can be healed. It is his redemption. ( )
  siok | Jun 18, 2022 |
Such a beautiful book. A world I knew nothing about is brought vividly to life in this amazing story. The book had been recommended by several people and I was daunted by its length (though i listened to the audiobook). This vast novel spans several lives, lifetimes, locations and gives us the story of twin brothers and the world that created them. There are some graphic medical descriptions but those add to the authenticity and beauty of the work. Don't be put off by its length or depth. If you take the time to savor this incredible novel and you'll carry it with you always. ( )
  NanetteLS | Feb 11, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 501 (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 bergs47 | 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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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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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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