“The Covenant of Water," published Tuesday, is Verghese's first work of fiction since his million-selling “Cutting for Stone” came out in 2009. Verghese's current book is a multigenerational saga set in India from 1900-1977.
“This is one of the top five books I’ve read in my lifetime. And I’ve been reading since I was 3,” Winfrey said in a statement. “It’s epic. It’s transportive. Many moments during the read I had to stop and remember to breathe. I couldn’t put the book down until the very last page — it was unputdownable!”
Verghese said in a statement that receiving the call from Winfrey, the dream of countless authors, felt like a “miracle.”
“My thoughts were racing back through the decade-plus of writing ‘The Covenant of Water,’ during which time my mother died, and Covid had descended on us," he said. “After we hung up I realized that I’d reflexively risen to my feet and stayed that way throughout our long chat.”
Verghese, 67, is an Ethiopian-born physician who has also written two memoirs. He received a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2015, and was praised during the White House ceremony for a “range of proficiency” that extends from “his efforts to emphasize empathy in medicine, to his imaginative renderings of the human drama.”