Dr. Abraham Verghese turns his remarkable empathy into powerful fiction in this story that draws on his medical training, his years of practice, and his childhood in Ethiopia. The principal narrator of Cutting For Stone (Knopf, $26.95) is Marion Praise Stone, one of a set of identical twins born to a dying nurse, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, in Addis Ababa in the early 1950s. The father, surgeon Thomas Stone, disappeared immediately after their birth, leaving the twins to be raised by Dr. Hemlatha and Dr. Ghosh, who followed Hema to Addis to work in the mission hospital. The backdrop is Ethiopia’s deteriorating political situation during and after Haile Selassie’s regime. Verghese’s capacity for empathy was notable in his previous nonfiction, as was his interest in the human condition. But to spin an imaginative tale is a talent of a different order, and he has exceeded expectation. There is great assurance in Verghese’s writing and ebullience in his storytelling.


With Cutting For Stone (Knopf, $26.95), Abraham Verghese has written a totally absorbing 500-plus page story that draws on his medical training, his life as an immigrant physician in the U.S., and his childhood and youth in Ethiopia. The novel is narrated by Marion Praise Stone, one of a set of identical twin boys born to a dying nurse, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, in Addis Ababa in the early ’50s. The father, surgeon Thomas Stone, disappeared immediately after their birth, leaving the twins to be raised by Dr. Hemlatha and Dr. Ghosh, who followed Hema to Addis to work in the mission hospital. The backdrop is Ethiopia’s deteriorating political situation during and after Haille Sellassie’s regime. Verghese’s capacity for empathy was notable in his previous nonfiction, as was his interest in the human condition. But to spin an imaginative tale is a talent of a different order and he has exceeded expectation. There is such assurance in Verghese’s writing and ebullience in his storytelling.

 

Cutting for Stone: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375414497
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - February 3rd, 2009

Cutting for Stone Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780375714368
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - January 26th, 2010

I knew Frances Perkins as the Secretary of Labor to Franklin Roosevelt. This biography of her by Kirstin Downey,  The Woman Behind The New Deal (Nan A. Talese, $35), fills out the portrait of an exceptional and gifted woman, describing her friendships with other luminaries of the period, like Robert Moses and Sinclair Lewis; her marriage and motherhood; her long political career, and even her continued public service after Roosevelt’s death. But of course, it is her years building the New Deal that are most interesting. Almost all of the legislation on social and economic support emanates or was helped along by Frances Perkins. When she wrote a letter of resignation to FDR after his fourth election, she listed her accomplishments:  among the programs, agencies and legislation she helped to promulgate were the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, the NRA and the Fair Labor Standards Act.  She strengthened the U.S. Conciliation Service, which dealt with strikes, and converted the Bureau of Labor Statistics into a “trusted source of information.”

The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781400078561
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - February 23rd, 2010

As everybody now knows, 2009 marked the 200th anniversary of the births of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. A coincidence, yes, but one that, teased out, can teach us something, as  Adam Gopnik shows in Angels And Ages (Knopf, $24.95). Just when you think there is nothing more to say about either of these two founders of the modern world, Gopnik, in his inimitable way, shows us some intriguing links between the two men. Both were great communicators and their mastery of rhetoric was a key to the spread of their ideas.  Gopnik is a graceful narrator, and the book makes a good introduction to both the statesman and the scientist.

Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780307270788
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - January 27th, 2009

Angels and Ages: Lincoln, Darwin, and the Birth of the Modern Age Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307455307
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - February 9th, 2010

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