I'm sorry, I tried, I really did . . .

Posted by Guy Pringle, 3rd August 2010

I’m happier to give up on books than I used to be – too many to read, not enough time etc. However, a deeply rooted Protestant work ethic insists I can’t do it lightly. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is tomorrow night’s discussion book for reading group 1 – or is it 2? Anyway, I wasn’t there when the book was chosen but suspect the TV Book Club sticker might be a clue. Thanks to the sainted R&J, I’ve discovered several good books I would never have read, so I was prepared to give this new TV incarnation a go.


Part one ends on page 109 and by then I had laughed out loud a couple of times and learnt more medical terminology than I am ever likely to need. In fact, I am now overly familiar with the interior of the female intestinal and chest cavity. Thomas Stone is a surgeon – Cutting for Stone, yes? – who belatedly realises the woman he loves is dying on the operating table in front of him. She dies but her conjoined twin boys live – incredibly, given the birthing they experience. Obviously there’s a lot more but, essentially, that’s the gist of the first 100 pages.


I realise somebody has walked over hot coals to deliver this book and many others have slaved to put it into my hands but the thought of another 430 pages was too many to convince me to read on.


The Independent cites Naipaul, Waugh and Dickens with ‘a strong flavour of William Boyd’ – starry company indeed but I’m afraid the night sky was clouded for me.


Clare said...

I see where you're coming from, Guy - I've just read over 100 pages of this book and it's riddled with unnecessarily detailed medical terminology that adds nothing to the storyline. That the author is a doctor, is apparent, but I would have thought the editor might have considered that many readers could be alienated by the need to either have a background in medicine (which I have) or a medical dictionary to hand to refer to as they read.
That said, I am intrigued by, and enjoying, the book so I am hopeful of making it to the end.
What was the verdict of your reading group?

Posted on Thu 05 Aug 2010 @ 21:19

guy said...

In time honoured fashion, Clare, we were split down the middle - although the advocates were good enough to acknowledge that the naysayers had a point!

Posted on Fri 06 Aug 2010 @ 10:03

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