NoSauce Book Review - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Medicine plays the leading role in this book - no matter if it is a student, a physician, someone needing medical care, a nurse, or a nun - the one thing they have in common is that they revolve in some way around a hospital in the middle of Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
The Hippocratic Oath says in it “I will not cut for stone”
Verghese used this to play on words - not only is the Oath referenced, but the man doing it is aptly named Thomas Stone. The book is told from the viewpoint of his children twins Marion and Shiva Stone.
I was drawn in from the first chapter. The characters are rich with personality and intelligence but still relatable. Addis itself is a character warm and beautiful, dangerous and dark. The story centers around the twins - starting with events leading up to their birth in an African missionary hospital. Perfectly summed up in a review I read - “Their story combines elements of Indian and Ethiopian language and culture, third world medicine, sexual awakening, political revolution, foreign travel, emotional and complex family drama. Written in a style of prose that allows me to forget the author is even there, Verghese really captures what it means to be human—that the frailty of life isn’t distinct from the strength of the spirit, but that one complements the other.”
The only drawback was the surgeries were described in very great detail which makes sense as Verghese is a doctor - but to the layman this can get a little long.
Was a wonderful book - but on the heavier side. Know when you start that this is not an easy beach read.
3 out of 5 stars