New York Times Notable Book of the Year * Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year
In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.
For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.
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About Anthony MarraSee more books from this Author
Marra’s timeline runs from 1994 to 2004, but the larger story is much, much deeper. This novel is...a meditation on the use and abuse of history, and an inquiry into the extent to which acts of memory may also constitute acts of survival.Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from NY Times
...“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” is ambitious and intellectually restless. It’s humane and absurd...Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from NY Times
Though the lives lived in this novel can seem unbearable, what Anthony Marra has done is to diligently describe them in passionate, extraordinary prose...they become not only "write-able," but also highly, deeply readable.Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from NPR
A somber, sensitive portrait of how lives fray and bind again in chaotic circumstances.Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from Kirkus
The novel’s length, scope and its author’s relative inexperience make this, by default, an “ambitious” novel. Marra clearly has what it takes to succeed in the long term, but he can’t do it by cutting out the middleman, which in this case happens to be Marra himself.Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from Toronto Star
What moves “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” is less Havaa’s fate than the unfolding stories of those who orbit her...Mr Marra has drawn them so particularly they transcend the stereotypes...Read Full Review of A Constellation of Vital Phen... | See more reviews from The Economist
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