Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

Hardback

By (author) Abraham Verghese

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 541 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 241mm x 43mm | 885g
  • Publication date: 2 March 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0375414495
  • ISBN 13: 9780375414497
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 103,617

Product description

A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel--an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home. Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics--their passion for the same woman--that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him--nearly destroying him--Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. An unforgettable journey into one man's remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.

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Author information

Abraham Verghese is Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was the founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, where he is now an adjunct professor. He is the author of" My Own Country, " a 1994 NBCC Finalist and a" Time" Best Book of the Year, and" The Tennis Partner, " a" New York Times" Notable Book. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has published essays and short stories that have appeared in "The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Granta, The Wall Street Journal, " and elsewhere. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

Review quote

"An epic tale about love, abandonment, betrayal and redemption, Verghese's first novel is a masterpiece of traditional storytelling. Not a word is wasted in this larger-than-life saga that spans three countries and six decades. . . . So adept at keeping his readers engaged, Verghese (a doctor himself, as well as a professor at Stanford) is able to relate technically detailed accounts of medical procedures without ever slowing the pace of the narrative. Detail, in fact, is Verghese's forte. Every character has a history-and Verghese expertly weaves the threads of numerous story lines into one cohesive opus. The writing is graceful, the characters compassionate and the story full of nuggets of wisdom. Verghese's august talent for storytelling is apparent in the dramatic arc of every chapter, but it is his handling of the human condition, of sins and salvation, of flaws and forgiveness, that makes this work particularly moving. From [Marion and Shiva Stone's] dramatic upbringing in a politically unstable nation to their heartbreaks and humiliations, Verghese's prose is teeming with memorable dialogue and description. Marion's arrival in New York City captures the wonderment of an immigrant . . . Although Verghese's nonfiction works exemplify the sensitivity and awareness evident in "Cutting for Stone," neither achieves the depth or breadth of this fictional tour de force. With all the traits of a great 19th century novel-a personal and intense narrative with coincidences and an unexpected denouement-"Cutting for Stone" is destined for success." -Meghan Ward, "San Francisco Chronicle" "Masterful . . . Verghese's gripping narrative moves over decades and generations from India toEthiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York, describing the cultural and spiritual pull of these places. . . . Even with its many stories and layers, "Cutting for Stone" remains clear and concise. Verghese paints a vivid picture of these settings, the practice of medicine (he is also a physician) and the characters' inner conflicts. I felt as though I were with these people, eating dinner with them even, feeling the hot spongy injera on my fingers as they dipped it into a spicy wot. In "The Interior Castle, "Saint Teresa's work on mystical theology, she wrote, 'I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.' "Cutting for Stone" shines like that place." -W. Ralph Eubanks, "The Washington Post Book World" "[A] fantastic evocation of the life of a pair of twins whose mother was a nun and father an English surgeon. The twins both grow up to be doctors and become patients in a ground-breaking organ transplant which is both the tragic and triumphant end of the novel. Verghese's medical expertise informs and enlivens much of this story. He describes the death of Sister Mary Joseph Praise while giving birth to the twins in lavish detail. . . . [Verghese] is a particular hybrid creature, both novelist and physician, and has a style and magic all his own. Written with a lyrical flair, told through a compassionate first-person point of view, and rich with medical insight and information, ["Cutting for Stone"] makes for a memorable read. -William J. Cobb, "Houston Chronicle" "Sparkling . . . Epic . . . . Verghese has made a seamless transition frombest-selling memoirist to novelist. His plotting is subtle-clues planted in chapter 1 blossom with meaning in chapter 53-and the Stone circle of characters is unforgettable. "Cutting for Stone" is as wise and worldly as it is gritty and unpretentious." -Mike Shea, "Texas Monthly" "Verghese is a novelist revealing extraordinary skill. With "Cutting for Stone, "[he] proves his gift [and] shares with us a story that cuts into our hearts and burns into our minds. . . . This epic of family and love is told largely from the operating theater as surgeon and soul become one. Each story of lives saved and lost is lovingly and graphically told. Were this to be yet another television-esque medical drama, or if it played out like a simple metaphoric Jacob and Esau tale, it would not be such a remarkable work. It is set apart from pedestrian stories by its international and universal story of love found in brotherhood, medicine, patriotism and family and of a faith that transcends any named religion. It is epic in every sense of the word. . . . Deeply affecting, cuts deep and heals broadly for all who willingly place themselves in its grasp." -Adera Causey, "Chattanooga Free Press" "Lauded for his sensitive memoir "My Own Country, "Verghese [now] turns his formidable talents to fiction, mining his own life and experiences in a magnificent, sweeping novel that moves from India to Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City over decades and generations. During an arduous sea voyage, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, a devout young nun, saves the life of an English doctor bound for Ethiopia, Thomas Stone . . . Seven years later, Sister Praise dies birthing twin boys: Shiva and Marion, the latter narrating his own and his brother's dramatic, biblical story set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Ethiopia, the hospital compound in which they grow up, and the love story of their adopted parents, both doctors. The boys become doctors as well, and Verghese's weaving of the practice of medicine into the narrative is fascinating even as the story bobs and weaves with the power of the best 19th-century novels." -"Publishers Weekly" (starred, boxed review) "This epic first novel by well-known doctor/author Verghese follows a man on a mythic quest to find his father. It begins with the dramatic birth of twins, their father serving as surgeon and their mother dying on the table. Their horrorstruck father vanishes, and the now separated boys are raised by two Indian doctors living on the grounds of a mission hospital in early 1950s Ethiopia. The boys both gravitate toward medical practice . . . After Marion, [one of the twins, ] is forced to flee the country for political reasons, he begins his medical residency at a poor hospital in New York City, and the past catches up with him. The medical background is fascinating as the author delves into fairly technical areas of human anatomy and surgical procedure. This novel succeeds on many levels and is recommended for all collections." -Jim Coan, "Library Journal" "Abraham Verghese has always written with grace, precision and feeling [but] he's topped himself with "Cutting for Stone." . . . A vastly entertaining and enlightening book." -Tracy Kidder "Absolutely fantastic! Holy cow, this book should be a huge success. It has everything: nuns, conjoined twins, civil war, and medicine-I was thinking that if Vikram Seth and Oliver Sacks were to collaborate on a four-hour episode of "Grey's Anatomy" set in Africa, they could only hope to come up with something this moving and entertaining. . . . A marvelous novel!" -Mark Salzman "A marvelous novel. To read the first page of "Cutting for Stone" is to fall hopelessly under the spell of a masterful storyteller; and to try to close the book thereafter is to tear oneself away from the most vivid of dreams. "Cutting for Stone" is a gorgeous epic tale, suffused with unforgettable grace, humanity and compassion. Verghese breathes such life into his characters that there is a poignant familiarity to them, one that lingers and haunts long after the dream is over. Verghese has once again set the bar and re-defined great medical literature-great literature period-for the rest of us." -Pauline W. Chen, author of "Final Exam " "Abraham Verghese has long been one of my favorite authors. Yet, much as I admire his abundant gifts as both writer and physician, nothing could have prepared me for the great achievement of his first novel. Here is an extraordinary imagination, artfully shaped and forcefully developed, wholly given in service to a human story that is deeply moving, utterly gripping, and, indeed, unforgettable. "Cutting for Stone" is a work of literature as noble and dramatic as that ancient practice-medicine-that lies at the heart of this magnificent novel." -John Burnham Schwartz, author of "The Commoner" and "Reservation Road ""A marvel of a first novel. Verghese's generosity of spirit is beautifully embodied in this gripping family saga that brings mid-century Ethiopia to vivid life. The practice of medicine is like a spiritual calling in this book, and the unforgettable people at its center bring passion and nobility-not to mention humor and humility-to the ancient art, while living an unforgettable story of love and betrayal and forgiveness. It's wonderful." -Ann Packer ""Cutting for Stone "is a tremendous accomplishment. The writing is vivid and thrilling, and the story completely absorbing, with its pregnant Indian nun, demon-ridden British surgeon, Siamese twins orphaned and severed at birth, and narrative strands stretching across four continents. A tale this wild is perilous, but there is not a false step anywhere. Accomplished non-fiction writers do not necessarily make accomplished novelists, but with "Cutting for Stone, "Abraham Verghese has become both. This is a novel sure to receive a great amount of critical attention-and attention from readers, too. I feel lucky to have gotten to read it." -Atul Gawande "One of the best novels I've read in a long time." -Robert Bly "Prepare to be transported entirely by one of the finest writers of our time. "Cutting for Stone "by the astonishingly gifted, deeply compassionate writer Abraham Verghese will wrap around you from the very first page and will not let you go." -Naomi Shihab Nye, author of "Habibi" "Empathy for our frail human condition resonates throughout Abraham Verghese's "Cutting for Stone," By tracing the developmentof