Well, if Muhammad can't come to the mountain, the mountain must find a way to go to Muhammad. Hence packing up the car and making the roadtrip today, meeting up with two sales reps from Random House, and getting Commonwealth Hotel security to help us maneuver two flatbeds' worth of books up to Verghese's hotel room. The day was just about perfect as far as I'm concerned: a few hours of booktalk, a nice lunch, a visit to a really nice bookstore for the first time (the Wellesley Booksmith), and, of course, going all fangirl over meeting Mr. Verghese. He was as lovely as can be, gracious and engaging, soft-spokenly charming. In a word, delightful. He also happened to mention that somebody at Knopf had shown him my earlier blog post in which I gushed about his book, and he even joked that he had taken extra care getting a close shave this morning before meeting his fan.
You know how every once in a while you read a book that you want to tell everybody about? Cutting for Stone is like that for me. It's really everything that a great epic novel should be, with incredibly sharp observations on the human condition, realistic and complicated characters and their inter-personal relationships, all set against the wider background of important world events, with nuanced social commentary as a constant undercurrent. I loved it. And I have the feeling that it's a book I may turn to again & again.
Here's the photo of us after the books were signed. L-R: me, Verghese, Emily RM, Joan. Hotel security has just come in to help us get the 30 boxes back down to the loading dock.