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Thank You, Abraham Verghese

July 20, 2011
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I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning last night, finishing the novel Cutting for Stone.  I finished it, wiped tears from beneath my eyes, and stayed up another hour beginning to read it all over again.  I couldn’t help myself.  I couldn’t let the story end.  I didn’t want to separate myself from the journey of ShivaMarion.  Rarely do I re-read books, and rarely have I ever begun re-reading the moment I finished.  So I thought Mr. Verghese deserved a little “thank you” for getting me to turn back to pg. 1 of his novel so quickly.  I can’t write anything too long or profound, as I cannot do justice to the work he produced.  But I wanted him to know I am grateful for his book.  It reminded me why I read.

Dear Mr. Verghese,

Thank you for introducing me to the wonders of Ethiopia – to its smells, its textures, its food.  Thank you for bringing this world to life for me.

Thank you for reminding me that story is, above all else, about the complexity of human relationships.  I shed tears for all of your characters.  You brought me into their lives and their shared intimacy.  I felt their joy, their sorrow, their hope, and the irredeemable pain that comes from betrayal.  I felt it all as you gingerly unveiled the true spirit of each persona.  I learned from the relationships you built.

Thank you for teaching me about medicine.  About a beautiful simplicity hidden amongst the intricacies of science.  I don’t understand much, but I understand much more through Hema and Ghosh and Shiva and Marion and even Thomas Stone.  Yes, especially through Thomas Stone.

Thank you for your characters who were absolutely unforgivable.  It’s been a while since I’ve encountered them.

Thank you for reminding me that reading, and likewise writing, is all about the joy in the “getting there.”  Because once one is “there,” the fun and the drama and the tears and the connection – is over.

I am forever indebted to the power of your words.  They are a testament to something I could never accomplish, but strive for anyway.

Sincerely,

A fan of your work

“It was as if nothing I’d ever done in my life prior to this counted.  As if my past life was revealed to be a waste, a gesture in slow motion, because what I considered scarce and precious was in fact plentiful and cheap, and what I counted as rapid progress turned out to be glacially slow.

The observer, that old record keeper, the chronicler of events, made his appearance in that taxi.  The hands of my clock turned elastic while I imprinted these feelings in memory.  You must remember this.  It was all I had, all I’ve ever had, the only currency, the only proof that I was alive.

Memory.”

~Marion Praise Stone in Cutting for Stone~

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