New Meetup: Cutting for Stone

From: Kimberli
Sent on: Thursday, February 11, 2010 3:08 AM
Announcing a new Meetup for Columbia Meetup Book Club!

What: Cutting for Stone

When: Monday, March 22,[masked]:00 PM

Where:
Panera Bread
6435 Dobbin Road
Columbia, MD 21045
(410)[masked]

Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese

Paperback (Jan 2010), 560 pages.
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN-13:[masked]

From the book jacket
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.


Review
As a bookseller, I live for novels like Cutting for Stone - big, fat, beautiful novels as beguiling and enchanting as babies, as wise and as generous as old sages. They are the bread-and-butter novels I can't wait to sell, the books people talk about all year long, the books they buy for their sisters and fathers, the book they press into the hands of friends with insistent, almost violent exhortations. Read this. You will love it. You HAVE to read this book. I talk about these books in the plural, as if there are scores of them, but while their iconic status is great, their numbers are few. They don't come along every season, or even every year, but I wait for them, hoping every third book I read will be the one, that one single book that makes my heart leap every time I know someone else is going to get to read it, too. And so, let me be the first, but certainly not the last to tell you: Read this book. You will love it.

Abraham Verghese's gorgeous prose forms an intoxicating synergy with his sweeping, twining plot, and I was hooked from the very first page. I raced through the remaining 500, and then couldn't bear to turn the last few. The story begins like a sudden storm and channels into a swift current that's difficult to emerge from: I stayed up through the wee hours, and polished off this hefty book in just two long nights.

Cutting for Stone is about all the giant things: family, love, war, home, land, life, death, exile, brotherhood, betrayal, and faith. There are lovable mothers and fathers, telepathic twins, mysterious priests, brave nuns, despicable generals, weak giants, miracles, rock and roll, sex, food, dusty dirt roads and city streets, and countless operating rooms. Verghese's reach is vast, but the intimacy of his characters keeps the novel close, writing about the big things through tiny, intimate, emotional moments that drive to the heart of all that we find most impossible to describe.

When I originally reviewed this book last year, a few weeks before it published, I was bold enough to claim that it would go on to be named one of the best novels of 2009, not just by myself, but possibly by every book review's top-ten list, shortlisted for all of the major book awards, and decorated with Oprah's book club sticker. I may have failed at the prediction game, but I'll surely stick to the recommending game: Literally dozens of readers have returned to my bookstore (some just two days later!) to thank me for recommending Cutting for Stone, and to buy copies for their friends. And it was voted by our very own BookBrowse readers one of the top 3 books of 2009. I'll take those votes over Oprah's any day!

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/columbia-meetup-book-club/calendar/12578500/

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