Thursday, February 16, 2012

Snapshot Book Review: Cutting for Stone

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My experience with this book was an unfortunate case of hearing too many rave reviews before I had the chance to discover it for myself. I will say that for a doctor, Verghese has quite a way with language. He also renders the most complex medical procedures with such simplicity and vividness that any lay reader can understand what is being done, to the extent that they almost believe they are there, watching at the patient's bedside.

Unfortunately, Verghese was only able to captivate me for about half the book, two-thirds at best. Once Marion left Ethiopia, the narrative became less engaging, less vivid. I don't know if it was because less time was spent on the characters around Marion (with the exception of Thomas Stone), or because everything moved too quickly or because there was too much exposition--I will have to reread the book again sometime in the future with a more analytical eye in order to determine that. I just know that by the time I was three-fourths of the way through, I already had a sense of what would happen, and I was impatient for the characters to get everything "over with."

Bottom line: excellent book about medicine, interpersonal relations, and Ethiopia, but Cutting for Stone doesn't sustain its own level of excellence throughout the entirety of the novel.

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