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Southwest Book Club Meets September 18

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Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss the book, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese on Tuesday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon, come of age in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart. An enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest (at) ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. A passionate, unique love affair sets Cutting for Stone in motion, and yet this romance remains a mystery--even to the key players--until the very conclusion of the novel. How does the relationship between Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Thomas Stone affect the lives of Shiva and Marion, Hema and Ghosh, Matron and everyone else at Missing? What do you think Verghese is trying to say about the nature of love and loss?

2. Almost all of the characters in Cutting for Stone are living in some sort of exile, self-imposed or forced, from their home country--Hema and Ghosh from India, Marion from Ethiopia, Thomas from India and then Ethiopia. Verghese is of Indian descent but was born and raised in Ethiopia, went to medical school in India, and has lived and worked in the United States for many years. What do you think this novel says about exile and the immigrant experience? How does exile change these characters, and what do they find themselves missing the most about home?

3. Abraham Verghese has said that his ambition in writing Cutting for Stone was to "tell a great story, an old-fashioned, truth-telling story." In what ways is Cutting for Stone an old-fashioned story-and what does it share with the great novels of the nineteenth century? What essential human truths does it convey?


4. Although it's also a play on the surname of the characters, the title Cutting for Stone comes from a line in the Hippocratic Oath: "I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art." Verghese has said that this line comes from ancient times, when bladder stones were epidemic and painful: "There were itinerant stone cutters--lithologists--who could cut into either the bladder or the perineum and get the stone out, but because they cleaned the knife by wiping their blood-stiffened surgical aprons, patients usually died of infection the next day." How does this line resonate for the doctors in the novel?

5. In what important ways does Marion come to resemble his father, although he grows up without him? How does Marion grow and change over the course of the novel?

Discussion questions obtained at Litlovers.com

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