Cutting for Stone Over Sarah’s Key

There are a few books that I’ve recently finished which are listed below with my brief review attached.  They are all newer titles that currently sit on or very near the latest best seller lists. Friends will often ask me if I have read a particular title, or for the suggestion of a solid personal or book club read. Because it takes a lot of time and thought to do a detailed review of each book, I am posting these “quickies” for your reference and perusal.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

This is such a beautiful book by Verghese. Following his two non-fiction works (My Own Country and The Tennis Partner) Cutting for Stone follows the life of twins Marion Stone and his brother Shiva as their lives wind down different paths amidst the political and domestic unrest in Addis Ababa. Cutting for Stone is an epic journey of the soul and Verghese’s characters attest to the innate longing and necessity of ties to family and homeland.

A current professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and holding an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop places Verghese in the two perfect professions to translate life into fiction. Though Cutting for Stone is graphic at times, Verghese’s medical knowledge brings clarity and precision to this broad work.

*I loved this book as a personal read. It is quite long and detailed at times but will keep your individual interest as small surprises and secrets constantly reveal. I would not choose this as a book club read only for the simple fact that some will no doubt say it is too long. With a slight potential for sag in the middle, you will have people drop out at the half- way mark.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Very rarely do I not finish a book but unfortunately Sarah’s Key will fall into this category. A good story doesn’t always make a good book and this is one of those examples. I had such high hopes for this one and actually bought it to read in France (the setting of the book) but didn’t make it past the first few chapters. Entangling two stories from both current and historical perspectives, I found the modern angle so trite and cliche that I can’t find a reason to recommend Sarah’s Key for any reason other than the exposure to the mass violence of the Velodrome d’hiver Round-up, an actual gut-wrenching event that did in fact take place in Paris in 1942.

* I can’t suggest this book as a personal read. After hearing wonderful things I plugged on but just couldn’t take it anymore. That said, it is rocking the book club world so there is no doubt a mass appeal for this title. It’s merit must lie in the historical event rather than its literary value.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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