Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese’s debut novel, is nothing less than an epic in prose. The long narrative, setting, characters, conflicts, and quotations that read as invocations all set out to prove this. It begins with the lines from Gitanjali, the celebrated poetry collection of the Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore
We had no plans to visit Paris that winter. I was at the end of the second trimester of a difficult first pregnancy, when a few hours away from the comfort of home were all my hundred-pound body could afford. We were living in Salem, Virginia, five thousand miles from all our family in India.