Karen's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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's review
Feb 17, 2012

really liked it

When I saw this on my book club assignment list, I wasn't too excited. I wouldn't normally reach out for a book set in Africa involving expatriate characters of various nationalities. Most such books involve so much description of history and culture that the general story line (if there is one) and the characters themselves seem to drown under the weight of it. I even suspect that some authors include lenghty historic or technical references to their novels, just to show off their own intellect, rather than illuminate the story. Or maybe they get paid by the page. In any case, I didn't find this to be a problem here. There is certainly quite a bit of description of Ethiopian/Eritrean/Indian/British history here, and several scenes providing indepth descriptions of medical conditions and procedures, but these descriptions served to enhance the understanding of the characters and the events of their lives, rather than cover them up. I had trouble putting the book down at night and felt sad when I realized I was on the last chapter. The story itself is one that I usually refer to as a train wreck, because so many unfortunate events occur for the main character, but there are also some wonderful emotions here. And most of the characters find a sense of peace within what might appear to be tragedy. And those are just the kind of stories I'm drawn to.

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