Tucson Festival of Books

Abraham Verghese

Christopher Michel

Tucson Medical Center

Abraham Verghese is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of the NBCC Award finalist "My Own Country," The New York Times Notable Book "The Tennis Partner" and the best-sellers "Cutting for Stone" and "The Covenant of Water." Verghese has received five honorary degrees and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives and practices medicine in Stanford, Calif., where he is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

*Starred Review* Instantly and utterly absorbing is the so-worth-the-long-wait new novel by the author of Cutting for Stone (2009). Spanning 70 years, it opens with the 1900 marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a 40-year-old widower with a young child. The couple belong to India's Saint Thomas Christian community, descendants of St. Thomas' converts after his arrival in present-day Kerala almost two millennia prior. While toddler JoJo immediately accepts the bride as his mother, the groom maintains a watchful distance until she is ready for a husband. She matures into Big Ammachi, the beloved matriarch of Parambil, the family's 500-acre estate. She births two children, a daughter who never outgrows a five-year-old's delight and a son whose wanderings finally bring him home to stay. Always looming is "the Condition," a mysterious history of drowning that claims a victim in every generation. Meanwhile, in faraway Glasgow, orphaned Digby becomes a doctor against impossible odds and escapes his tragic past to become a privileged white man in British India. His trajectory as a promising surgeon, estate owner, and gentle caretaker inevitably overlaps with many of Parambil's inhabitants. Verghese--who gifts the matriarch his mother's name and even some of her stories--illuminates colonial history, challenges castes and classism, and exposes injustices, all while spectacularly spinning what will undoubtedly be one of the most lauded, awarded, best-selling novels of the year. "A masterpiece.

"Put it on your bookcase next to A Passage to India by E.M. Forster or anything by the brave and brilliant Salman Rushdie. Indeed, put it next to any great novel of your choice. Sprawling, passionate, tragic and comedic at turns . . . Verghese, probably the best doctor-writer since Anton Chekhov, upends all of our expectations . . . You won't want it to end." COPYRIGHT(2023) Booklist

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Awards: Guggenheim Fellow, National Humanities Medal from President Obama

Communities: Asian American

Scheduled events:
The Covenant of Abraham Verghese
Abraham Verghese's first book in 15 years is well worth waiting for. "The Covenant of Water" may have been the best book published all last year. Oprah Winfrey said it's the best she's read in her entire life. How did he get the premise? How did he research the project? We're eager to learn, and Verghese is here to share.

Student Union North Ballroom (Seats 560)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Fiction / Literature
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Rincon Room (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelist: Abraham Verghese
Moderator: Kevin Smith, MD

The Covenant of Water
Fiction / Literature
Grove Press
January 2023
ISBN 9780802162175
736 pages
Buy now

Cutting for Stone
Fiction / Literature
National Geographic Books
January 2010
ISBN 9780375714368
688 pages