Cutting for Stone

By Abraham Verghese

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Through the lives of Shiva and Marion Stone, twins born in Adis Ababa from a clandestine affair between a heavenly mother and a passionate, yet psychologically removed surgeon, we see the cycle of life and all its absurdities, beauties, cruelties, inevitabilities, hilarities and loves. Cutting for Stone, follows the twins through Ethiopia’s tumultuous history and through the ever-expanding history of medicine itself.

The deftness of a surgeon’s cut brings to life the validity and haunting beauty of the medical profession, while supporting our ongoing to need to understand why we are here and, the one we like to ponder less, why we die.

Each character – from the committed British Matron of the little hospital in Adis, the no-nonsense, strong but eternally loving obstetrician, Hema, the spiritually elevated yet disconnected Shiva, the prostitute suffering from permanent loss, Tsige, the passionate and troubled, Genet, the effortlessly graceful Ghosh and, of course, the analytical, romantic in Marion, the narrator, among many others – imbue the landscape both of Ethiopia and of our hearts with humanity and science.

Until the last moments of the skillfully-written epic, we read along with Verghese’s words, enjoying the privilege of viewing our bodies as miraculous creations, that house us, betray us, nurture us, fail us and, ultimately, redeem us.

Great For:

  • Learning about Ethiopian history and politics through engaging characters
  • Enhancing your literary soul
  • Readers interested in science and medicine
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  1. Great description!!! An amazing read for people of all ages. I for one, was enticed by Verghese’s ability to incorporate the medical aspect of the story without centering it on scientific topics.

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