43. Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Pages: 541
Finished: Feb. 22, 2009
First Published: Feb. 3, 2009
Genre: fiction
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mother's womb, my brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954.

Comments: This epic family saga spans through the 1950s to present time and travels from Ethiopia to America and back again. A brilliant tale that starts off with an Indian nun working as a nurse in Ethiopia surprisingly going into labour with complications. Her twin sons are delivered alive but she dies on the table and the white doctor who is assumed to be the father refuses to look at the boys and leaves the Mission Hospital never to return again. This, then, is the story of the twins, Marion and Shiva, told through the eyes of Marion, the first born. The story of how they were as one person together until the day that betrayal over a woman tore them apart. An intense story that centres around medicine as the doctors and nurses try to help the poor of Ethiopia but also spans the history of this country from an autonomous monarchy through two coups, and a Marxist regime.

An absolutely brilliant book that I could not put down. Once I started I kept on reading like there was no tomorrow. The characters that populate this book are immensely genuine and eclectic from the twins, to their adoptive doctor parents, to the servants, the Matron and finally the collection of Indian doctors working together in America. A loving family and community from a mixture of cultures (white, Indian and Ethiopian) that combine Catholicism with Hinduism, live together through shocking event after shocking event.

A real page turner. An epic story that is a joy to read. An unfamiliar setting and a focus on medicine both captivated me and a truly heart-wrenching story of love and betrayal that continues to surprise you at every turn. Truly wonderful, this is a book that will stay with me. Highly recommended!


  1. This is another one that I saw on Amazon, but breezed by when I saw that it was over 500 pages. I get heart-palpitations when I see that! (J/K) I saw that it had all 5 star reviews and now you, too, have joined them! It really does sound good, though. I have it on my TBR list, so we'll see. :)

  2. I'm with Joy--500 pages scares me to death. I saw this one on Shelf Awareness and thought it looked really interesting--glad you liked it so much. Now I wish I had requested it! :)

  3. Wonderful review! Thanks so much for bringing my attention to this bhook. I added it to my TBR.

  4. Well, I'm the same way guys. Whenever I pick up a book with 500+ pgs I always murmer to myself that this better be good becasue I could read 2-3 other books in the time it will take to read the one. But fortunately, not only was this good, but also a page turner. I think it took me 3 days to read, just couldn't put the thing down!


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