Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just finished reading...

...CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese

For about a year now, I have been acquainted with Dr. Abraham Verghese in a professional context at Stanford University. In my interactions with him, I have found him to be a pleasant, kind and gentle personality—immensely knowledgeable, patient and respectful. I was therefore very surprised and pleased to discover that he is also an immensely talented writer. On one of our last encounters, he presented to me a spectacular gift: a signed and dedicated copy of his first novel, CUTTING FOR STONE.

The book, whose title cleverly references the sixth item of the Hippocratic Oath (“I will not cut for stone…”) as well as several surgeon characters in the book whose surname is Stone, is an engrossing, sweeping story, at once epic and highly intimate. It spans generations, cities, continents, political regimes and the inner landscape of the soul. Possessing an effortless descriptive style, Dr. Verghese has created lovely, fully realized, individual characters, each with their own unique self-contained worlds. The synchronicity he employs to propel the story forward seems not only probable but inevitable, given the orbit and gravitational pull of the characters: the way he weaves them around and through each other is certainly the stuff that literature is made of. The medical information and knowledge peppered throughout the book is quite interesting and accessible, presented in a completely understandable way. Dr. Verghese clearly understands the inner workings of human beings—both their viscera and the abstract, intangible feelings of love, loyalty, hatred and the thing that seems to make life matter the most, unutterable loss.

I am thankful and honored that Dr. Verghese gave me the gift of his first, and hopefully not his last, novel. Reading it was a beautiful experience. Thank you, Doctor, for sharing this vision with me.

Recommend? Definitely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and thoughtful review. Sounds like a wonderful book.