Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone has been sitting atop the fiction bestseller list for quite sometime. Many people had recommended it to me. I became intrigued when I read an interview that he did for Maurice on Books. And I purchased it for my nook.
The story follows twin boys whose mother (an Indian nun and surgical nurse) died giving birth and whose famed surgeon of a father abandoned them in his shock and grief over the loss of the love of his life. The two were adopted by two doctors at the mission hospital in Ethiopia that they were born into. Told by Marion, the more socially aware twin, their lives under the tutelage of these Indian expat doctors was comfortable and educational.
Marion and Shiva’s connections and differences are challenged in the whole story. Shiva exhibits more Asperger-like qualities. He is exempt from exams and he is exempt from feeling the anguish that his brother feels daily for all of life’s trivialities, including unrequited love. In all honesty, Marion’s storytelling seems so angsty. I felt bogged down by his anger towards his brother.
The first 350 pages take place in Ethiopia. The last 200 in America. I honestly was about to give up on this book. The cases at the hospital in Addis Ababa were interesting, but the stories surrounding them felt very strained and full of Marion’s emotion. And it moved slowly for me. When Marion finally reached America, and his personal story free of his brother’s unfolds, I was able to settle into the book more. He is nearly independent of the source of his angst until he crosses paths with his father.
Overall, this book was a difficult read. I don’t know if it was because it was the first long book I read on the nook, or if it was because I was reading Lolita at the same time, but I could not get into it for the longest time. I don’t know that I really enjoyed much of the story until the end.
I would give this book a 2.5 out of 5.