Cutting for Stone is a novel by Abraham Verghese. Verghese, a respected internal medicine doctor and professor, has created a modern epic which takes the reader through all the emotions and leaves you wanting more of the story. In my opinion Cutting for Stone is the book of the year.
The story covers about fifty years from the middle of the 1950's until just after the turn of the Twenty-first century.. It is a story of love, betrayal, loss and reconciliation as seen through the eyes of Marion Stone. Marion is one of a pair of twins born to Sister Mary Joseph Praise, an Indian Carmelite nun and Dr Thomas Stone a British Surgeon both of whom work a at a small Mission Hospital, Missing Hospital, in the heart of Adis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Marion and his twin brother Shiva are born as their mother dies. Throughout their childhood, Shiva is the quiet and examining brother, Marion is the talker of the two. Through Marion's eyes we see the turmoil of military coups and political fighting as well as the horror of disease in a world where a visit to the doctor is all too often a last resort before almost certain death.
At my local library book club, there was just one negative comment. The books beginning is full of the back stories of many of the major characters. The reader can soon become dismayed at these back stories, which while they do flesh out the characters later seem too many, too soon slowing the story to a very slow snails pace.
Work your way through part one and the story soon picks up pace, you love and dislike the characters at all times. There are many humorous and laugh out loud portions in this book and also many sections where your stomach will curl as you endure the tension of a medical procedure.
In the end the conclusion of the story will surprise you. No-one at our book club predicted the stories turn of events. But no-one was disappointed. The book leaves you pondering the way life can turn on a series of events. The things we do matter as do the things we don't do.