Book Series: Medicine and the Human Condition


Combining the medical with the metaphysical, this edition of The Dermatologist Book Series features Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, recommended by Amy McMichael, MD, professor and chair of the department of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC.  

“This book has amazing detail of the physical exam in all its glory, as well as the varied way in which care is delivered in this country and abroad,” said Dr McMichael, who is a member of The Dermatologist’s editorial board. “All of this with an amazing evaluation of the human condition makes this an important book to read for any physician.”

cutting for stone

Cutting for Stone is about the struggles of twin brothers, Marion and Shiva, who are born in Addis Ababa’s Missing Hospital in Ethiopia. Their mother, an Indian nun, dies during childbirth and their father, a British Surgeon, abandons them at the hospital. They are raised by Hema and Ghosh, 2 Indian doctors who work at Missing hospital, who help nurture the twins love of medicine. Set in the 1960s and 1970s, the brothers come of age as political tensions rise in Ethiopia. Marion falls in love with Genet, the daughter of their housekeeper, however, his brother ends up with her first. When Genet becomes involved with a radical political group fighting for Eritrea’s independence, Marion is forced to flee. He moves to the US, where he interns at an underfunded hospital in the Bronx. When his past catches up with him, Marion is forced to reconcile his relationship with the 2 people he mistrusts the most—his brother, who betrayed him, and father, who abandoned him. In addition to addressing themes of love, betrayal, and forgiveness, Cutting for Stone includes vivid details about the medical profession and the lives of doctors.

Cutting for Stone was published by Penguin Random House in 2010. Audio and print versions of the book are available on the Penguin Random House website and Amazon.

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Past installments of The Book Series:

Book Series: What Is A Life Worth Living?
Book Series: Must Reads for Competitive Achievers
Book Series: Considering Behavioral Economics
Book Series: Tips for Improved Time Management
Book Series: Dermatologists Reveal Must-Read Books