This is my review of Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.
I normally enjoy books which transport the reader into another culture – in this case Ethiopia – with the authentic ring of local knowledge. However, from the outset "Cutting for Stone" – a pun on the name of a surgeon – failed to hook me.
I agree with those who found the focus on medical details and operations quite tedious. As is too often the case with family sagas, the style was plodding with a lack of real drama or tension to carry me through. I could not engage with the characters such as the twins, children of a nun – an unlikely event stated too casually on the opening page.
The novel compares unfavourably with, say "The Kite Runner", again written by a man who has moved to the west and trained in medicine, but with a real flair for creating moving characters and intriguing plots, thereby giving real insights into Afghanistan and issues of adaption to life in the US.