Reviews | Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone moves us from a mission hospital in Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City. As we turn page after frantic page in pursuit of the once-conjoined twins, now doctors, who are the protagonists, get to know their parents, adopted and actual, a childhood friend whose place in the tale is central, not to mention Addis Ababa, we sink into this big lush novel and never want to surface. Steeped in both medicine and history, Verghese’s latest book not only entertains but also marks new territory, re-framing the world in the process. Imagine a novel that combines the story-telling skill and the social and cultural acuity of Vikram Seth and Rohinton Mistry with the urgent imagination of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and you have some idea of the magnitude of the genius of Cutting for Stone—it will surely go down as one of the major books of our time. – Betsy Burton

In 1954, twin sons are born unexpectedly to a nun serving as a surgeon’s assistant in an Ethiopian mission hospital, called “missing” as the Ethiopian tongue ended the word with a hiss, and thus, Missing Hospital.  The unraveling of the story of these boys, their unfortunate mother and father, adoptive community and special talents are told in a wondrous tale. Verghese, himself a physician of Internal Medicine, has set his characters in a basic unadorned African environment and presents to the reader the varying ways humans care, or do not care, for each other.  Medicine is examined in critical ways that speak to today’s circumstances.  I highly recommend this book! – Sue Fleming

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