Friday, December 31, 2010

Cutting for Stone [Verghese]

Book: Cutting for Stone
Author: Abraham Verghese

Review: "Cutting For Stone" is an award winning novel by Dr. Abraham Verghese. When an Indian nun in Ethiopia dies in childbirth (producing twin sons), the presumed father, a British surgeon, leaves the country. The children are brought up by doctors at the hospital. Told from the perspective of one of the twins, we learn about his biological parents, the parents that raised him as well as his journey from birth to his mid-20s.

This book is on many top lists so I had high hopes. At it's core-it's a beautifully written soap opera with a lush Ethiopian backdrop, political undercurrents with medicine weaved in its pages. Where it falters are the overly detailed scenes (I enjoyed learning more about medicine but devoting multiple pages on medical procedures was overkill) and my inability to care about the main characters. While many characters were developed, I felt I was always on the periphery of "really" understanding them. When the only likable character dies of leukemia, I thought to myself "oh, that's sad" but it didn't evoke any real emotion. The story also moves extremely slowly, and if I was not reading this book for book club, it probably would have taken me awhile to get through it.

While I wouldn't personally recommend this book to anyone, I am still giving it a B+ as it is beautifully written.

Grade: B+

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