Ed's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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Apr 26, 10

bookshelves: 2010, read-on-kindle, 5-stars, favorites, shared-in-household, debut-novel
Read from April 06 to 25, 2010

After two critically acclaimed memoirs, Abraham Verghese tries his hand at fiction with "Cutting For Stone." I read one of those memoirs, "The Tennis Partner," though 'fess up to suffering from "reader amnesia" (i.e. not remember much at all about it, except that it was quite good). In this debut, Verghese followed that fiction Rule #1 "Write what you know" by creating many similarities between himself and the narrator Marion (a male): both are Ethiopian born of Indian heritage and doctors who find their way to America. If that's not enough multi-culturalism for you, Verghese also details the Italian influences on the African nation... and shakes things up by making the narrator's father an Englishman (as noted, the mother is Indian, but is... wait for it... a nun!)

This is a rich and epic work by a master storyteller. In the oft-seen bookstore "If You Like This, Try These" bookshelf feature I would certainly recommend "Cutting" to fans of Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" as they share are all sweeping sagas that effortlessly touch upon all of life's most dramatic issues... love and heartbreak, trust and betrayal, fate and free will, and quite literally life and death. There is a lot to learn here as well, as noted above a good amount of history and Verghese does not shy away from detailed accounts of medical procedures. While he may have lost me a time or two, the majority of the time it is explained in a fascinating and reader-friendly way, though I would give out a caveat that some of the medical stuff at times gets a wee bit graphic.

In an era where one's attention span seems to be decreasing by the minute, this is a book that requires some good solid time (took me just over 3 weeks, at about 30 pages/day), but I relished my time with it and have found yet another set of characters that will inhabit my head for the foreseeable future.

I try to save my 5-star ratings for truly special books and have kept it to what I think is a reasonably low 10%-ish of all my GoodReads books, but here I find myself giving another out to make it 3 out of my last 4 books! Not sure if I am becoming a softie in my old age or just enjoying a streak of really good books, but won't complain!
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