Sunday, September 12, 2010

58. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Twin brothers are born in a hospital complex in Ethiopia, joined at the head by a thn piece of tissue.  No one was aware of the impending birth as the mother was a beautiful nun and surgical assistant who hid the pregnancy from all around her.  The father, a brilliant British surgeon, freezes at the difficult delivery:  the mother dies and the father disappears.  The twins are raised by the remaining medical personnel, mostly a gynocological surgeon who becomes their adopted mother.  Both grow up with a fascination for medicine but they have completely different personalities.  Marion is conscientious and considerate of those around him.  SHe is deeply in love with the daughter of a nurse at the hospital.  Shiva, while medically brilliant, is self-centered and unthinking, not in a horrible way, but his behavior causes a deep rift between the two brothers.  Because of the rift, Marion flees Ethiopia in the midst of its revolution and complete his surgical training in New York City.  There he meets his surgeon father and develops his own talents, while Shiva ramins in Ethiopia and becomes an expert on treating genital mutilation common amont the young women in that country.

I loved this book which surprises me because of the subject matter.  Still, it is full of wondrful and diverse characters who lend so much flavor to the story.  And Marion, the main character, is a deep, complex person, who makes understandable mistakes, gets hurt by those he trusts; and makes you root for him throughout the book.  It's a beautiful story of love and betrayal and redemption.
Rating:  5


  1. I really enjoyed this one a lot. My book group read it earlier this year and it went over very well.

  2. Exactly! So glad you enjoyed it.

    I wish he'd write another novel.