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.