"Abraham Verghese is a doctor, an accomplished memoirist and, as he proves in "Cutting for Stone, " something of a magician as a novelist. This sprawling, 50-year epic begins with a touch of alchemy: the birth of conjoined twins to an Indian nun in an Ethiopian hospital in 1954. The likely father, a British surgeon, flees upon the mother's death, and the (now separated) baby boys are adopted by a loving Indian couple who run the hospital. Filled with mystical scenes and deeply felt characters-and opening a fascinating window onto the Third World-"Cutting for Stone" is an underdog and a winner. Shades of "Slumdog Millionaire.""
-Jocelyn McClurg, "USA Today"
"A novel set in Africa bears a heavy burden. The author must bring the continent home to help the reader sit in a chair and imagine vast, ancient, sorrowful, beautiful Africa. In the last decade I've read books narrated by characters homesick for Africa; books by or about child soldiers; books about politics; books full of splintering history. "Cutting for Stone" is the first straightforward novel set in and largely about Africa that I've read in a good long time-the kind Richard Russo or Cormac McCarthy might write, the kind that shows how history and landscape and accidents of birth and death conspire to create the story of a single life. Perhaps it is because the narrator is a doctor that you know there will be pain, healing, distance, perspective and a phoenix rising from the ashes of human error. Marion Stone reconstructs his half-century with a child's wonder . . . Verghese knows that beauty is the best way to draw us in . . . The landscape and the characters who live and work [at Missing Hospital] create something greater than a community, more like an organism. The intimacy of the twins . . . the ghostly purity of their mother and the daily rhythms of the hospital create an inhabitable, safe place, on and off the page. In lesser hands, melodrama would be irresistible . . . but Verghese has crshow more