Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thomas Stone

I realized there's a lot that I could possibly write about with regards to Cutting for Stone but that's an overwhelming thought, so I'll stick to one of the aspects of the book that I really enjoyed.

Earlier this year in the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (ELIC), I was really angry at the grandfather character for picking up and leaving his wife and child and being selfish all through his life. Then I was also annoyed at how he just couldn't get his shit together, for lack of better words, and get over the trauma that caused him to leave. I assumed I would feel the same for Thomas Stone. Throughout the book, although the children were lucky to live a fulfilling life with the love of a mother and father, I still couldn't help but think that Thomas Stone was a failure for leaving his children and running from responsibility.

I'm surprised to say I sympathized with the Thomas Stone character and actually felt that he did come through in the way he could for his children. He wasn't in the mental capacity to take care of two children and probably would have caused them more harm in their childhood than leaving them in the care of Hema and Ghosh. (Well, I'm hoping he at least realized that they would be cared for and didn't leave them with no thought of their safety/well-being at all) In the end, when he does meet Marion, he doesn't shy away from the responsibility. He is awkward but puts in effort to reconnect with his son. He helps Marion's hospital from going under and we find out later that he was an anonymous donor for Shiva's cause back in Ethiopia. He doesn't leave ShivaMarion's side during the liver transplant/death debacle.

Somehow his inability to get over the Sister's death was also justified in my mind. I guess his history of the mother that died in his arms and not being able to say anything to Sister about loving her before she died was enough to push him over the edge. I am glad though, that Marion chose to tell Thomas about the letter when he found it, to give Thomas solace that he did come through for Sister in her eyes. It was almost better in terms of their relationship that she died than just left him -- ok maybe it made for a better story the fact that she did die. Hmm...what would have happened, do you think, if she hadn't died and had left Stone with that note and left Missing with the children unborn still?

Friday, May 20, 2011

80% through ... getting there!

I just wanted to give my mid-book comments -- don't read this unless you're more than 80% of the way through!!

Only at the 60% mark did I finally start somewhat enjoying the book. It was the first time since I started this book that I would actually seek out my Kindle in downtime. Then slowly I've started seeking out downtime to read because I'm finally interested in the story.

The turning point for me was the whole Marion-Genet-Shiva triangle. Marion's love for Genet was very cute & sweet, and Genet was a case where you can see how her circumstances led her so far astray from what she could have been (like what Marion envisioned for their life to be, and what she chose for it to be). And it's interesting how Marion links that one evening when Shiva slept with Genet to be the start of the downward spiral of events in Genet, and ultimately his life. Well, not that it's downward for him, but the fact that he had to become a political refugee of Ethiopia.

I'm currently at the part where he's in America, and he's already met Thomas Stone (that was an exciting moment!). They've realized that neither of them have the letter that was mentioned in the bookmark, neither does Shiva or anyone back in Missing. And I think Marion's finished his internship or something; he doesn't have much contact with Thomas Stone anymore.

I'll definitely finish the book, probably early next week... I'm busy today and tomorrow with 'Ramayana' and I'll finish it right after that. Thanks for forcing me to keep reading!

Can't wait to read the rest of your comments when I'm done -- Ferah, I haven't read your post yet bc I don't want any spoilers. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cutting through my thoughts

Sorry, my hand accidently published my post when it wasn't ready. Sorry for that premature email!

First- my dad met the author earlier this week! He said that he was a really great speaker and was very interesting to speak to. I asked if my dad could pull strings and somehow get us to speak with the author. We'll see what happens.

Ok, now onto the real thoughts. For Antara, as of Saturday morning, I was only 18% of the way through the book, but managed to finish at 9 pm last night. So my words of wisdom to you is that after about 45% (pg 300), the book gets really fast and sucks you in! So please, please stick with it! I really, really liked this book. I was sniffling on the plane last night as I finished it- the plot was so poignant and touching and I felt really invested in the characters.

One theme that really resonated with me was the idea of always having your 'slippers' with you no matter how far you traveled in life. I liked that slightly more positive way of describing the baggage that you travel with through life. The term baggage has such a negative connotation, but the way (in the story Ghosh tells Marion) slippers are described, it's less negative and more the idea of lessons and memories that you always carry with you.

The character development and character relationships developed were absolutely fantastic- I felt like I was getting to know real, three-dimensional human beings who I had a vested interest in. I went from liking to hating certain characters (Genet) and from hating to liking certain characters (Stone) and the way the understanding of each character, and how your mind was changed was done is such a believable, subtle way, just like you may have a gut reaction to someone you've met, but as you get to know them, your mind changes (or stays the same).

I found Shiva to be such an enigmatic character. He frustrated me with his didactic, logical outlook in life (I want to have sex, so I'm going to have it with whomever). He seemed so seperated from emotion and saw emotion as an outsider. I really enjoyed watching him transform to better understand emotion and Marion, when he felt the need to donate part of his liver to Marion. That idea brings me to the theme of ShivaMarion which was SO well played- they were one entity as children, and you thought you saw them growing apart into seperate entities and the book ties it back together (even their seperation) for you to realize that they're still one entity even in Shiva's death. They really were mirror images- one logic, one emotion, one who tried hard at all things, one who never really tried except at what he wanted. Together they made one whole, though they functioned well apart. It was just so beautifully done- the arc was perfect.

Ghosh was my favorite character, I think. I want him to be my father! I had SUCH heavy boots when he died.

Anyway, getting hungry now, but will post more. I have so much to say. Despite it's rough start for me, I must say this is my favorite of the books we've read for book club!