Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It was published in 2009, but despite its popularity and best-selling status, I didn’t actually read it until this year. My younger sister said it was amazing and a huge impetus behind her traveling to Ethiopia a few years back. My mother loved it, even my grandmother read it and enjoyed it. What the heck took me so long?!
Cutting for Stone is told from Marion Stone’s point of view. He and his twin brother were born to a beautiful nun from India and a British surgeon who worked together in Missing hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The twin boys are orphaned by their mother’s death and their dad’s disappearance, but raised by the staff at Missing Hospital. This group, this family, brought together by medicine and caring, is a group of characters, who you will grow to care for and root for, despite all the odds. You follow the boys through their childhood and on into adulthood, where their decisions carry them through a touching and heartfelt story.
There is so much I liked about this book. The prose was beautiful, the characters fully-fleshed out and the amount of medical knowledge woven into the story was impressive and fascinating. The complicated and uncomplicated relationships, the Ethiopian politics and revolution, the struggles of people without good healthcare, etc. I felt like I paid a visit and grew to know the place.
After reading this book, which I really, really enjoyed, I now want to go eat a delicious plate of doro tibs and injera at my local Ethiopian restaurant, and I’d love to actually visit this part of Africa. Abraham Verghese wrote an intelligent and feeling book with Cutting for Stone, and I recommend that everyone reads it. As a writer, I hope one day I could produce something of this caliber.
Have you read Cutting for Stone? What did you think of it?
cover photo from Abraham Verghese’s Facebook Page.