Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review-Cutting for Stone



photoI try to be aware of which books are being talked about, although I am sometimes a bit behind in reading those books.  One that has been crossing my path for a while now is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
It is set in Ethiopia during the 1950's-1970's.  Thomas Stone, a surgeon at a mission hospital in Ethiopia (called Missing Hospital by the locals) and his surgical assistant, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, an Indian Carmelite nun, are the parents of Marion and Shiva.  Sister Mary Joseph Praise dies during childbirth.  Thomas Stone-not knowing that Sister was pregnant and distraught at her death-abandons the hospital out of grief, which leaves the twins orphaned.  The two other doctors at the hospital, Hema the gynocologist/obstetrician and Ghosh, the Internist, raise the boys.  The boys grow up within the compound of the hospital.  They are very close growing up.  As they enter puberty, though, a rift appears.  Both eventually go into medicine, Marion goes to medical school, but Shiva learns from Hema.
The book goes into great detail about many medical issues and the politics of Ethiopia during the 60's and 70's.  The author also delves into how rich countries help, or not, poorer countries with their donations, and the incredible gap between medicine as practiced in rich countries versus poor countries.  It also explores relationships and how they can alter the trajectory of a life.
I enjoyed this book very much and think it would appeal to a broad range of people...there is history, medicine, family relationships, and politics, to name a few of the themes. 

Cutting for Stone
Cutting for Stone
By Verghese, Abraham
2009-02 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780375414497 Check Our Catalog
Awards:
Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award (2010), Indies Choice Book Awards (2010)

A stunning debut novel from the author of "My Own Country": an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, fathers and sons, doctors and patients, exile and home. …More


Other books by the same author.


My Own Country: A Doctor's Story
My Own Country: A Doctor's Story
By Verghese, Abraham
Author Vergehese, Abraham
Author Verghese, A.
1995-04 - Vintage
9780679752929 Check Our Catalog
Awards:
Lambda Literary Awards (1994)

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City saw its first AIDS patient in August 1985. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases who became, by necessity, the local AIDS expert. Out of his experience comes a startling, ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland. …More


Complimentary Reads


The Names of Things
The Names of Things
By Wood, John Colman
2011-12 - Ashland Creek Press
9781618220059 Check Our Catalog
Awards:
Chautauqua Prize (2013)

Finalist for the 2013 Chautauqua Prize. The anthropologist's wife, an artist, didn't want to follow her husband to the remote desert of northeast Africa to live with camel-herding nomads. But wanting to be with him, she endured the trip, only to fall desperately ill years later with a disease that leaves her husband with more questions than answers. When the anthropologist discovers a deception …More


How to Read the Air
How to Read the Air
By Mengestu, Dinaw
2011-01 - Center Point
9781602859555 Check Our Catalog
The adult son of Ethiopian immigrants sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today. …More