Select one of the keywords
Cutting for Stone    by Abraham Verghese order for
Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In his magnificent first novel, Abraham Verghese draws upon his own cultural and professional background to produce an epic tale of dignity and compassion. Marion Praise Stone, the narrator-protagonist of Cutting for Stone, tells readers about his remarkable progress through life - a journey that is marked by the healing powers of medicine and relationships.

With a humble though complicated beginning in Ethiopia where he is born as the twin brother of Shiva, and with a British surgeon as father and Indian nun as mother, Marion - like his father - goes on to become a physician. With part of his life in Africa and another part in America, Marion will eventually return to the country of his birth and revisit his past, coming to grips along the way with the emotional scars that have their source in his relationships with his family: a mother - Sister Mary Joseph Praise - who died giving birth; a father who had abandoned him; and a brother who had betrayed him.

Marion understands that his birth was a strange and difficult miracle - and the author's powerful rendering of this portion of the epic saga is particularly effective - but Marion must also learn to understand, through reflection upon his experiences and his relationships with others beyond the boundaries of his family, that life itself - represented by something more than simply a body upon which a surgeon can practice his craft - is also an ineffable miracle, but only when the mind and soul are open and receptive to the wonder of it all.

Lyrical and intense, Cutting for Stone is an exquisitely rendered novel. Destined to be compared to the best writing of Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and Toni Morrison, Abraham Verghese's mellifluous, spellbinding prose and powerful characterizations are impressive accomplishments. Readers looking for the very best in contemporary English-language literary novels with an international flavor need look no further than Cutting for Stone.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews