Tamara's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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Dec 27, 10

bookshelves: book-club, costco, animals, india-middle-east, medical, 2010, death, africa, new-york, twins
Read from December 09 to 27, 2010


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Quotes Tamara Liked

Abraham Verghese
“It was a tale well known to children all over Africa: Abu Kassem, a miserly Baghdad merchant, had held on to his battered, much repaired pair of slippers even though they were objects of derision. At last, even he couldn't stomach the sight of them. But his every attempt to get rid of his slippers ended in disaster: when he tossed them out of his window they landed on the head of a pregnant woman who miscarried, and Abu Kassem was thrown in jail; when he dropped them in the canal, the slippers choked off the main drain and caused flooding, and off Abu Kassem went to jail...

'One night when Tawfiq finished, another prisoner, a quiet dignified old man, said, 'Abu Kassem might as well build a special room for his slippers. Why try to lose them? He'll never escape.' The old man laughed, and he seemed happy when he said that. That night the old man died in his sleep.

We all saw it the same way. the old man was right. The slippers in the story mean that everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don't sow, becomes part of your destiny...

In order to start to get rid of your slippers, you have to admit they are yours, and if you do, then they will get rid of themselves.

Ghosh sighed. 'I hope one day you see this as clearly as I did in Kerchele. The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward. It is only when you stop and look to the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
tags: life

Abraham Verghese
“Love so strong, without ebb and flow or crests and troughs, indeed lacking any sort of motion so that it had become invisible to him these seven years, part of the order of things outside his head which he had taken for granted.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“She had always assumed that she would have years to sort out the meaning of life... As she bent over the child she realized that the tragedy of death had to do entirely with what was left unfulfilled.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“Impending death had a way of unexpectedly unearthing the past so that it came together with the present in an unholy coupling.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“How beautiful and horrible life is, Hema thought; too horrible to simply call tragic. Life is worse than tragic." p 108”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“How we treat the least of our brethren,... that's the measure of this country.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“He had so many ways of climbing into the tree house in his head, escaping the madness below, and pulling the ladder up behind him...”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“I spent as much time as I could with Ghosh. I wanted every bit of wisdom he could impart to me. All sons should write down every word of what their fathers have to say to them. I tried. Why did it take an illness for me to recognize the value of time with him? It seems we humans never learn. And so we relearn the lesson every generation and then want to write epistles. We proselytize to our friends and shake them by the shoulders and tell them, "Seize the day! What matters is THIS moment!" Most of us can't go back and make restitution. We can't do a thing about our should haves and our could haves. But a few lucky men like Ghosh never have such worries; there was no restitution he needed to make, no moment he failed to seize.

Now and then Ghosh would grin and wink at me across the room. He was teaching me how to die, just as he'd taught me how to live.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
tags: life

Abraham Verghese
“I realized if something happens to him, it happens to me, too. If I love myself, I love him, for we are one. That makes it a risk worth taking for me - it wouldn't be for anyone else, unless they loved him.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
“The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.”
Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone


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