Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
I’m not really sure how to describe “Cutting for Stone” in a way that won’t make it sound stupid. The story is narrated by Marion, one of a pair of half-Indian, half-Anglo twins growing up in Ethiopia. The boys were conjoined at birth, but only but a small passageway at the head, so they were quickly separated. Marion and his brother Shiva are raised by two doctors at the hospital where they were born because their mother, a nun, died in childbirth and their father, a surgeon who didn’t know they were on their way, fled the country with his guilt and sorrow after her death.
Vergehese is clearly a very skilled writer and a very good doctor. “Cutting for Stone'” describes rather vividly quite a few medical procedures. Normally that would not interest me in the least. However, in this case it was entirely appropriate for the book and gave the story more of a feeling of reality. I was definitely able to forget that Marion was a character, as opposed to a real person.
This was definitely a good book, but unfortunately I was not able to get the full effect. Instead of picking up a printed copy of “Cutting for Stone,” I listened to the audiobook. Now, the audiobook had a very talented narrator who was great with voices and had good pacing. However, I just don’t think this is a book that works well with audio, particularly if you are someone who listens to 30 or 40 minutes at a time in the car. There was a fair amount of jumping around of time periods in the story, particularly at the beginning. This would not have bothered me at all had I been reading and able to flip back a few pages to remember where/when I was, but on my Ipod it was not so reader-friendly. I think I’m going to have to try re-reading it, this time in print form, in a few months.
Definitely give this book a try, but avoid the audio unless you listen for long periods at a time.