Book: Cutting For Stone
Author: Abraham Verghese
Marion Stone and his twin brother, Shiva, are born literally joined together at a hospital in Ethiopia. Although their Indian mother, who was a nun, died in childbirth and their English father quickly fled after the boys were born, the twins were raised by two loving parental figures, both of whom were doctors. The boys grow up being surrounded by medicine and surgery. While spanning several decades, this book describes the experiences of Marion as he relates to his twin, family, faith, the girl he loves, surgery and medicine, the father he never met, and the differences of living in Africa and America.
Overall, this book was a winner. I found it hard to put down. One of the aspects of the book I liked so much was the magnitude of themes it covered. The story took a look at the themes of love, betrayal, sacrifice, loss, faith, family, belonging, medicine, culture, and loyalty, just to name a few. This is the kind of book that can keep a book club talking very late into the night.
There is a lot of surgery and medicine in this novel, being that most of the characters are doctors. At first, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work for me as a reader since I know very little about medicine and doctor terminology. However, the author does a decent job of guiding the reader along, whatever their knowledge of medicine may be. Sometimes I thought the detailed descriptions could have been cut down a little though. It was more important as a reader to acknowledge what the doctors were experiencing through the surgeries than the technical details.
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Out of the many themes explored in this book, one I found particularly interesting was the idea of faith and medicine working together. The majority of the doctors in this book were also religious, would pray often, and had faith. People are often looked at as belonging to one field, science or faith. They tend to contrast each other. In this book, however these two ideas often seemed to work as one.
I would highly recommend this book. It was possibly a bit too long, but Abraham Verghese is an excellent storyteller. His characters are complicated and rich in emotion, as are the events they go through.
My Rating: 4.25/5 stars