Study Guide

Cutting for Stone Prologue: The Coming

By Abraham Verghese

Prologue: The Coming

  • Marion Stone and his twin brother, Shiva, are born on September 20, 1954 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to a nun named Sister Mary Joseph Praise. Later, Marion will look at his mother's painting of St. Teresa in the operating room where he was born—and where his mother used to work as a nurse.
  • Fifty years later, Marion Stone returns to the operating theatre in Ethiopia and explains that he's going to tell his life story.
  • Young Marion tells Matron, a woman he grew up with, that he wants to be a surgeon when he grows up—and he does just that. One day, he wants to operate on a critical patient, and his father, also Dr. Stone, tells him that the eleventh commandment is not to operate on the day of a patient's death. Say what? Yeah, it's short for this: "He's going to die anyway."