Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese - Novel


The novel, Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese takes the reader on a journey that involves time spent on a ship, stays in India, Ethopia, and different states in America. The story is told in the voice of one of the twins; the story being about these twins from pre-birth, their birth, their parents, the people that cared for them and the friends, colleagues and neighbours who interacted and worked with these twins.

At the beginning, the principal characters are the adults who are medical doctors and surgeons. A significant part of the story takes place in Ethiopia, the birthplace of these twins. The reader is exposed to the trials and tribulations of growing up in Ethiopia prior to the Eritrea crisis in Ethiopia. The author takes the reader into the world of medicine and describes in precise details the art and practice of being a surgeon or gynecologist; intertwined in these details are cultural events, community interactions and general mayhem of living in a foreign country where these doctors are engaged in the art of healing and caring for the patient. There is love, pain and humane portrayals of wanting to live in a married status or not.

The reader is exposed to scandals and how the outcomes are impacted on the lives of the twins—the main characters in this novel. There are some joyful moments of life described in intricate details, accompanied by some sorrowful and painful incidents that this community has to endure. As the twins grow up, the reader learns about the rites of passage from one significant age to another and how the twins deal with these rites in dramatically different ways due to their individual and different personalities.

The narrative on how foreign doctors are accepted or not in America is quite poignant; yet it is cleverly intertwined in the plot of the story that gives this novel the credence of providing knowledge as well as realizing it is depicted in a novel.

Throughout the novel, Verghese keeps you on edge as to what would happen next; this author does it through an intoxicating story telling writing style.

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