Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Abraham Verghese

With little or no fanfare, at least publicly displayed, Abraham Verghese dropped by the store today to sign copies of his new novel, Cutting for Stone. I and many others here have been fans of his work for 18 years or so. His first book, My Own Country, a memoir, came out in 1994 and told the story of his days as a young doctor treating AIDS patients in rural Tennessee. It is gritty and emotionally provocative writing - he suffered along with his patients. It is palpable. Four years later he published The Tennis Partner, another memoir, about his friendship with a medical student struggling with a cocaine addiction. He does not take on easy subjects in life or in his writing which until his new book had been running parallel. There is alot of the man in this novel, compassion, dedication, elegance, and beauty. But there is much more in this epic story of two brothers, the mother they never knew, the woman who raises them, the power of healing, and the state of medical care in post-war Ethiopia. It is an unforgettable story. Cutting for Stone is on the February Indie Next Top 20 list; it is a staff pick; and signed copies are available.

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