Abraham Verghese

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Abraham Verghese (born 1955) is a physician-author, Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He is also the author of three best-selling books, two memoirs and a novel.


Cutting for Stone (2009)[edit]

  • Her skills were so rare, so needed for the poorest of the poor, and even at times in the royal palace, that she felt valued. Wasn't that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted?
    • Ch. 6: My Abyssinia
  • "... How we treat the least of out brethren, how we treat the peasant suffering with volvulus, that's the measure of this country. Not our fighter planes or tanks, or how big the Emperor's palace happens to be ..."
    • Ch. 14: Knowledge of the Redeemer
  • "A rich man's faults are covered with money, but a surgeon's faults are covered with earth."
    • Ch. 15: Crookedness of the Serpent
  • Encouraged by the old surgical saw "Any idiot can amputate a led," Ghosh had decided to proceed. If he hesitated, it was because the rest of the saying went "but it takes a skilled surgeon to save one."
    • Ch. 16: Bride for a Year
  • Maybe it was written on my face that I'd become aware of human complexity - that's a kinder word than "deceit".
    • Ch. 21: Knowing What You Will Hear
  • When she walked away I felt the weight of what she left unsaid. I wanted to call after her, Ma! You have it all wrong. But just as she kept her thoughts to herself, I was learning to do the same. This was what growing up was about: hide the corpse, don't bare your heart, do make assumptions about the motives of others. They're certainly doing all these things to you.
    • Ch. 27: Answering Medicine
  • All possibilities resided within me, and they required me to be here. If I left, what would be left of me?
    • Ch. 29: Abu Kaseem's Slippers
  • Ghosh sighed. "I hope one day you see this as clearly as I did in Kerchele. The key to your happiness is to own your own slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only your actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny."
    • Ch. 29: Abu Kaseem's Slippers
  • And that is how he passed from this life to the next, without fanfare, with characteristic simplicity, fearless, opening his eyes that last time to make sure we were fine before he went on.
    • Ch. 36: Prognostic Signs
  • The ritual of immigration and baggage claim at Kennedy Airport went by so quickly that I wondered if I'd missed it. Where were the armed soldiers? The dogs? The long lines? The body searches? Where were the tables where your luggage was laid open and a knife taken to the lining?
    • Ch. 38: Welcome Wagon
  • But you reach a point where after trying and trying you say, Patience be damned. Let them suffer their distorted worldview. Your job is to preserve yourself, not to descend into their hole. It's a relief when you arrive at this place, the point of absurdity, because then you are free, you know you owe them nothing.
    • Ch. 38: Welcome Wagon
  • I believe in black holes. I believe that as the universe empties into nothingness, past and future will smack together in the last swirl around the drain.
    • Ch. 43: Grand Rounds
  • The oaks and maples outside the window of his room are wild men with their heads on fire. He shuts his eyes, but the view inside his eyelids is the same nightmare. His nerves are lancinating cables under his skin that send jolts of electricity to his muscles. He is so tremulous that when he brings a glass of water to his lips, he has spilled most of it before he can take a sip. He pukes his insides out, till he imagines the lining of his stomach is smooth and shiny like a copper pot. But the impulse to run is gone. He has put one or perhaps two oceans between him and the place he flees.
    • Ch. 46: Room with a View
  • I have excised the cancer from my past, cut it out; I have crossed the high plains, descended into the desert, traversed oceans, and planted my feet in new soil; I have been the apprentice, paid my dues, and have become master of my ship. But when I look down, why do I see the ancient, tarred, mud-stained slippers that I buried at the start of the journey still stuck to my feet?
    • Ch. 49: Queen's Move
  • All my ghosts had vanished; the retribution that they sought had been exacted. I had nothing more to give and nothing to fear.
    • Ch. 54: Homefires
  • Ghosh trusted me to do whatever it is I would choose to do. That, too, is love. He'd been dead more than a quarter century and he was still teaching me about the trust that comes only from true love.
    • Ch. 55: The Afterbird
  • The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.
    • Ch. 55: The Afterbird

External Links[edit]

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