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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Opening up the past

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 24 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1643
  1. Richard Villar, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Wellington Hospital, London
  1. rnv1000{at}

    The doctor and author Abraham Verghese has been tipped for the literary big time. Richard Villar is impressed by his new novel but finds the surgical scenes overegged

    In this byte sized, internet driven era it was with some reluctance that I began this 560 page novel. I started late one Friday night, fully the sceptic, but within a matter of a few pages this book hit me. I read, read, and read, at times fascinated, at times impressed, on occasion horrified and revolted. Cutting for Stone is a page turner in the true sense of the word. Be warned before you start.

    I have never met Abraham Verghese, professor of medicine and senior associate chair at Stanford University School of Medicine, but he comes across as a thoughtful man as his story weaves its web of love, death, conflict, betrayal, and minute medical detail. The tale moves largely between Ethiopia and the United States in an astonishingly expert way. The bulk of the plot takes shape in Missing, an Ethiopian mission hospital surrounded by political and military chaos. The conjoined male twins …

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