Cutting for Stone

  • by Abraham Verghese
  • Narrated by Sunil Malhotra
  • 23 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel - an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him - nearly destroying him - Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
An unforgettable journey into one man's remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Epic Medical Novel

I picked this novel after hearing Dr. Verghese on the Diane Rheim Show on NPR and was impressed by his enthusiasm and idealism for the practice of medicine and the training of young physicians.

The plot has some refrains of the Kite Runner, also written by a physician. It follows the intertwined lives of two brothers from politically unstable Ethiopa to the United States. The language and imagery are lyrical in many places even in the description of surgical procedures and cadaver dissections.

It is not overstated to say that the novel does for Surgery and Medicine what Moby Dick did for whaling. The plot is interspersed with technical descriptions of nearly every aspect of medicine from the fine points of surgical anatomy to the process of medical residency certification. The finale of the book is far-fetched and is telegraphed, but in the context of the grand story, I suppose it is no more far-fetched than Ahab waving goodbye from the back of the White Whale.

The characters are compelling and complex -- particularly the namesake of the novel and the father of the narrator. One of the recurring themes of the book is the tension between the good life (i.e. love of family) and the good career (i.e. good works). This theme is carried from the Carmelite Nuns in Madras to the trauma and transplant surgeons in New York. No one seems to get it quite right except for Ghosh, the Indian/Ethiopian Internist who is the most attractive person in the book. I wonder if Dr. Verghese modeled him as a self-portrait.

I suspect that this book will not get the readership that it deserves because of the hefty length and hefty price. But it ought to reside on the bookshelf of everyone who aspires to go into medicine as a career -- right next to Arrowsmith and Aequinimitas.
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- Audiophile

Brilliant story, pitch perfect narration

This is an epic surely destined to become a "cut in stone" classic, a gem so perfectly cut that it sparkles from every facet. Best of all, the story is filled with characters so human and alive, even in death, that I for one wish to keep them close by me forever. And Sunil Mulhotra's mastery of narration for both sexes, over a large spectrum of age and accent, is so good I am grateful my first exposure to Cutting For Stone is through his voice.
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- Mary Lynn Richardson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio