Cutting for Stone Cutting for Stone discussion


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Is it just me, or was this book thoroughly disappointing?

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Kiessa My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!

Instead, it felt like a meandering piece of literature that didn't know where it was going from one page to the next. Disjointed and, in places, just plain boring, I finished this book with great happiness when I could dump it back into the library return bin.

Were anyone's expectations fulfilled with this book?


Megowen I loved it. It had emotions, it had elegance and serenity. I felt I was breathing fresher air when I was reading it.


message 3: by Deb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deb I might have agreed with you after the first 20%/100 pages, but by the end I couldn't put it down and I was brought to tears....so, maybe it was just you.....


Zulfiya Kiessa wrote: "My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!

Instead, it felt like a meandering piece of literature that didn't know where it was goi..."


I loved the book - the narrator has a fascinating voice in the novel. It is both personal and professional. And it is a wonderful story of twinning, parenthood, professional vocations, and manifold women.


Viviana D. Otero This is one of the greatest books I have read. Beautifully written with rich and vivid imagery and excellent prose. The voice he chose for each of his characters was exceptional. GREAT BOOK!


message 6: by Crystal (last edited Jul 28, 2011 12:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Crystal I agree. It was a great book!


message 7: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Yes, unfortunately I don't think you gave the book a fair shake. Yes, this book was a verbose at first, but once you got past the first 100 pages (or hour or so if you listened to the audio--I did both) it was brilliant. I was moved greatly up for quite a while after I finished reading it. I used to be a premed student eons ago, but left that study for something more rewarding, so all the medical jargon brought back memories as did his sojourney in the NYC public hospital system. After finishing the book, the beginning made more sense, still it can be somewhat disarming at first, but well worth the journey overall.


Paige Bennett I think you have your expectations too high- that has happened to me several times. I loved this book- I got used to the wordyness ( I make up words) In fact at times I found the writing poetic. It touched all my emotions- It is a great book and so is East of Eden but they are very different stories- try it again inawhile


message 9: by Lily (last edited Jul 29, 2011 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily Not every book is everyone's cup of tea. I appreciate a great deal having read the book (it was a book club selection for me) and have passed it along to family member currently doing her medical residency in NYC. I did sense the book got bogged down in points in the medical jargon, but let that be part of its setting/background. The story line was disjointed and not totally believable, but it still took me to possibilities and relationships I might not otherwise have explored or encountered. There were pieces of historical knowledge about Ethiopia and knowledge about medical institutions and challenges globally and their interrelationships that I found of interest.

I'm sorry your expectations were dashed. Better luck with your next read. Hope not too much of your time was "wasted."

(It is hard to follow Mark Twains' dictum: "Don't read good books. There isn't time for that. Read only the best.")


Jo Ann I really enjoyed it, although it did take me a while to get into it. I'm glad I stuck with it, because it was not a disappointment. I learned a lot!!


Katz Nancy from NJ I was also disappointed. Never understood what others saw in this book to rave about. I read two books which I thought were much better about similar situations - A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb.


Kiessa Oh,Nancy! I also LOVED I Know This Much is True. I expected Cutting for Stone to be along those lines. I am so happy to see another reference to a similar book - I will track down A Fine Balance. Thank you!


Robyn Smith Kiessa wrote: "My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!

Instead, it felt like a meandering piece of literature that didn't know where it was goi..."

Why on earth would you expect an epic? Didn't that style go out with East of Eden??
This book didn't meander, it was lyrical as well as being amazingly informative about medicla matters.
Marion turned out to be an egotistical chauvinist, but maybe this was intentional, I don't know.


Katz Nancy from NJ Kiessa wrote: "Oh,Nancy! I also LOVED I Know This Much is True. I expected Cutting for Stone to be along those lines. I am so happy to see another reference to a similar book - I will track down A Fine Balance. ..."

As far as the story of twins went, although vastly different Kiessa, I thought I Know This Much is True was so much better. Have you also read The Hour I First Believed. Not as good asd IKTMIT, but still a worthwhile read.

And A Fine Balance is so good - wish I could be reading it for the first time.


message 15: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Nancy wrote: "Kiessa wrote: "Oh,Nancy! I also LOVED I Know This Much is True. I expected Cutting for Stone to be along those lines. I am so happy to see another reference to a similar book - I will track down A..."

A Fine Balance is one of the finest books I've read in a very long time. I loved Cutting for Stone, but A Fine Balance blows it out of the water. Read it. I was messed up for days afterwards...


☯Emily has reviews on Booklikes I was extremely disappointed, especially in the first 200 pages. It was wordy and needed editing. Found several silly errors that would have been caught by an excellent editor. The last part of the book was much better than the first half, but some of the "coincidences" were hard to swallow.


message 17: by Genia (new) - rated it 1 star

Genia Lukin Yep. Disappointed. it was supposed to be good, and it was not. it was a rather poorly written book. The only parts where the energy of the writer came through well were the ones about medicine, but, as a story, it was pretty cliched and poorly crafted. And it did meander; it left the main characters at that point in the middle of a climactic scene to go trace the ancestry of a person we only mentioned in passing; that's poor craftsmanship.


Kiessa Emily and Genia, you stated that better than I did. Thank you!


Sherry It took me a second reading of "Peace Like a River" to find what people saw in it and perhaps you just read it at the wrong time or didn't get far enough into it. The stories and people were mesmerizing. The descriptions of the land and the people were beautifully done. I have passed the book to quite a few friends and they all felt the same way I did.


message 20: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily Sherry wrote: "It took me a second reading of "Peace Like a River" to find what people saw in it and perhaps you just read it at the wrong time or didn't get far enough into it. The stories and people were mesme..."

Sherry -- are your comments about "Peace Like a River" or are you drawing an analogy with Cutting for Stone? (I'm uncertain to what your comments apply, so hope you will clarify.)


Sherry They are very different types of books, no analogy intended. I was just saying that "Peace Like a River" turned out to be a good book but it took me several attempts to finally get into it. For some reason the duck hunting scene just turned me off and I put it down. When I reread it I found it was a beautifully written book and the story a fine one. I suppose, because I liked "Cutting for Stone" so much I hope you will give it another try at some point.


message 22: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily Sherry wrote: "I suppose, because I liked "Cutting for Stone" so much I hope you will give it another try at some point...."

So you are saying "Peace Like a River" [PLaR] was a good book that it took you several attempts to finally get into, and since you liked "Cutting for Stone" [CfS] so much, you hope that Kiessa will have a similar experience with CfS, i.e., that she will try again and find she enjoys it as you did for PLaR?


Viviana D. Otero I did not think this book was poorly written at all as some suggest. The author is gifted in narrative and medicine. Fantastic book!


Barbara Elsborg I loved it and I loved A Fine Balance! But everyone has different tastes - that's okay! Neither book was perfect but I learnt something reading them and that makes them a plus for me


message 25: by Mysti (new) - added it

Mysti I am slowly reading this book now and I must say it has been a real struggle to keep going. Being half way through the book, I am hoping for it to get better. At this point in time I am not seeing what all the hype is. I will finish the book regardless and maybe my opinion will change. I also understand that everyone's love of certain books differ as much as our taste in foods.


message 26: by Genia (new) - rated it 1 star

Genia Lukin I've read the whole thing, beginning to end. Sorry, but it only got worse as we went along. And the end? I've already read My Sister's Keeper; I didn't need a reiteration.

I actually find it slightly offensive, to have all these people who liked the book stand there and assume I must not have finished it, or have read it at the wrong time, or something. I'm curious as to what the 'right time' for it would be, but not so curious as to read it again.


message 27: by Jacqueline (new) - added it

Jacqueline I just finished this book a few days ago. I found it to be a slow read in the beginning followed by a fluffy story with a bland ending. I'm glad I read it, but I am taken back with all the hype. I have read many better books that interest would better be served


message 28: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue I loved it!


Carlee I thought this book was absolutely wonderful. I had no expectations going in. It was well written, told a beautiful story that wasn't predictable, and kept my interest. I was sad to finish it. I have also read A Fine Balance, but it was a long time ago, and I didn't draw many parallels from it, except that they are both in the developing world. I have had a hard time getting into I Know This Much is True - but will give it another shot!


message 30: by Adam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Adam Johnson what a good book, wonderfull engrossing plot thats delivers some hard fact realities about life we seldom hear about in the west and issues that deserve independant research, very good


Sharon Bially I loved this book. It was rich and full of detail without ever slowing down. It was so refreshing for me after reading too many watered-down, action-only books that deliver no insights or depth.


Carol E. I was somewhat disappointed. Great writing and great story telling, but there's too much detail that bogs down, and for me, too many ridiculous coincidences. No one goes through life always meeting people that he met once before and always having them be the absolute top of their profession. Please.


Carol E. P.S. I love A Fine Balance much more than Cutting For Stone.


Meseret Fikru i can't wait until i read this book


Vanessa I'm surprised how many people didn't care for this book! I thought the writing was beautiful and this was definitely one of my favorite books this year.


Louisereviews I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was really nicely written, although some of the pacing was a bit strange - several chapters for the birth and then years go by in a couple of lines.

For those of you on Twitter we'll be discussing it on #BookTwub on Thursday 27th October, 8pm (UK time). Just look out for the hashtag.


Carolyn This was one of my favorite books. Even the descriptive portions kept my interest because I was learning about something I hadn't known before -- both about Ethopia and about medicine. It's a keeper for me and I'm sure I'll read it again sometime.


message 38: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Fears As a nurse, I was fascinated with the recounting of primitive tropical medicine in the time and place this novel described. Ethiopia was a third world country in which any kind of medical care was a treasure. The love and commitment of all of the medical providers could be a model to be admired by all in the health care industry today. But it is the common person who brings this novel alive. I read the whole thing envying the author his ability to craft a work of beauty and ugliness. His use of language and symbolism is unique and inspiring.


Laurele I found it to be forgettable and turned back to the classics.


Christine Bloom I think it needed a lot of editing. Just when a scene got going we'd switch to some flashback or details that went on for pages and pages and pages. There is a lot of great writing and story-telling but the pacing is so slow and meandering.


Bobby I went into this book totally blind as to content and in retrospect am glad I did. Every page was unexpected and new and the character development was wonderful. However, everyone I recommended it to has had a different reation. This book is NOT for everyone but for those of us who like to experience different lives in different times and in different and faraway lands this book is perfect.


Linda Kiessa wrote: "My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!

Instead, it felt like a meandering piece of literature that didn't know where it was goi..."


This book is a classic. I was captured by the end of the first paragraph. Not only did I get a good education about Ethiopia but also about the inequities of medical care, among many other things. I found the characters extraordinarily well developed. Great book.


Casey Wade It felt like the never ending story to me.


Susan I thought this was a great book. I was totally interested in the whole thing, even the medical descriptions which surprised me. This book had some depth and great characters.


Michael Kiessa wrote: "My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!..."

I read through the births, around p. 100, and then gave it up. I found the dialogue often unlikely, sometimes downright dumb; the characterizations seemed to waver wildly; and the most interesting character to that point was no longer in the story after that.

My question back to you would be: why were your expectations so high? Friends talking about it? It was sure nowhere near the quality level of
East of Eden.


message 46: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Lombardo The first 100 pages are definitely a struggle to get through. It felt like 9 months...but once you get through that part, it really becomes an excellent read. I loved it.


message 47: by Mj (last edited Dec 02, 2011 08:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mj Took me a while to get into the book as well - loved the prose at the beginning but it seemed to be lacking, plot, characters and action. It definitely didn't grab me right away.

About 1/4 of the way through, I could hardly put it down. See my review - I think this book has it all - great prose, character development, plot driven, lots of info both about medicine and surgery and Ethiopia and its people.

Loved it.


message 48: by Miss Downtown NYC (last edited Dec 03, 2011 09:10AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miss Downtown NYC Kiessa wrote: "My hopes for this book soared. I expected an East of Eden style epic. I expected to love, love LOVE it!

Instead, it felt like a meandering piece of literature that didn't know where it was goi..."


I just met two people who did not care for this book. It's at the top of reading group favorite lists (www.readinggroupguides.com). My book club will be reading it. One of my personal favorites of the past few years. I couldn't put it down, thought the characters were interesting. Liked the window into doctors' lives and the global setting. Moving. I like to take a journey with a story and prefer not knowing where it's going (Bad Marie, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Kite Runner, etc.). The ending is a tear jerker.


message 49: by Kim (new) - rated it 1 star

Kim by Kim

I couldn't get past 150 pages. I was bored bored bored. I like alot of genres but I couldn't hang in there. All I could think about was the other books I'd rather be reading.


Michael Ditto, Kim.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Cutting for Stone (other topics)
My Sister's Keeper (other topics)
East of Eden (other topics)
A Fine Balance (other topics)
Map of the Invisible World (other topics)
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