Friday, March 22, 2013

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

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.
This insomniac's opinion:
First, lets get something out of the way. Instead of just referring to this as a novel, a more accurate word would be tome- as in a large book that reads in such a way that it takes you hours upon hours to finish it. This here is a marathon, not a sprint, dear friends.
My sweet friend Lindsey has been wanting me to read this book for awhile. I tried twice and couldn't even get past the first chapter before throwing it aside for another book. But, she continued to pester- er, I mean encourage- me to read this tome, so I did. And, for the most part, I am glad that I did.
This novel is very well written. The characters are incredibly well fleshed-out and have a depth that you simply don't see very often in contemporary fiction. I will warn those who may be a bit queasy that there is a lot of medical information and much of the book takes place in an operating room. The author is a doctor and spares no detail in the hospital scenes. As a nurse, this did not bother me. However, it did lend the book a very clinical feel at times, much like the Grey's Anatomy book that they speak of often in this novel.
So, I am left feeling a little off about the book. While I recognize it as a great piece of literature, it was not at all enjoyable to read or reflect on. I will place this tome with many of the novels that I was made to read in my college literature classes- I am quite glad that I read them, but have no desire to ever read them again.
Worth staying up all night to read?
Yes, but good luck staying awake!
Rating: 4 stars

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