L's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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Nov 27, 11

bookshelves: topreads
Read in November, 2011

After reading Cutting for Stone, the story of conjoined twins Marion and Shiva, I have tremendous respect for Abraham Verghese. This beautifully written story starts with the unlikely relationship between Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Dr. Thomas Stone, which results in Sister Praise dying in childbirth as Dr. Stone tries to pry Shiva free from her womb, not realizing that he is attached to a twin, Marion. The shock that the Sister is pregnant and her subsequent death as well as the birth of the twins (who are immediately separated by Hema, an Obstetrician who becomes their adopted mother) is so overwhelming that Dr. Stone vanishes, leaving Shiva and Marion to be raised by Hema. Cutting for Stone is set in Ethiopia and follows the lives of Marion and Shiva, or ShivaMarion as they are in many ways one person (mirror images of each other but with distinct personalities).

Abraham Verghese is a physician and he writes very clearly about the medical process, disease states, and procedures. But he also writes a very compelling and compassionate story about the various characters in the story, including not only Hema but her husband, Gosh, and other individuals they work with, live with, and treat. The culture of Ethiopia is woven well into the story, as is the culture of India (from which several of the characters originate) and the colonial cultures of Great Britain and Italy.

I stayed up all night reading this story and cried at the end. It was absolutely beautiful and I recommend it highly.
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