Why do you think the author chose A Constellation of Vital Phenomena as the book's title?
Join Date: 10/16/10
Join Date: 04/21/11
Join Date: 02/28/14
Join Date: 01/22/11
I Loved the title of this book! The definition of life of course was the title but to me it goes beyond that. Each life in this book had a connection with the others just like a constellation of stars. It was a group of people connected to one another. Also, all of the words in the definition: organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction and adaptation were major elements in the book. I often am drawn to books with a unique title, sometimes they work and sometimes not, this one was perfect for the story!
Join Date: 06/16/11
When initially reading the book's title I was thinking the title had to do with physical phenomenon such as weather, star positions,locale and time. By the end, of course, I understood that individual events in the lives of the characters and the time and place they were living were the phenomenon he was portraying so very well to lead to the conclusion that then seemed inevitable but still very satisfying though sad.
Join Date: 01/19/12
Personally, did not care for the title until p184 of the book when Natasha read the definition of “life” in “The Medical Dictionary of the Union of Soviet Physicians.” Then it was a-ha, now I get it.
In an interview with Jill Owens on PowellsBooks.Blog Marra is asked, "In the book, the phrase, 'a constellation of vital phenomena' comes from a medical dictionary. Is that, in fact, where you found your title?” He answered, “Yes, it is. I think it's the second entry for the word life in... I can't remember which medical dictionary… …It was definitely a fortuitous little twist of fate. There are these six vital phenomena — organization, irritability, adaptation, movement, growth, and reproduction, and there are six point-of-view characters in the novel. Life is structured as an intersection and a constellation, really, of these six vital phenomena. The novel was structured as a constellation of these six characters, and as soon as I saw it, I just had to use this as the title.” A-ha again.
Join Date: 09/19/13
I could never remember the title of the book until I read the definition and the interview by Marra. Then the Constellation made sense. It made me think back upon the characters and the situations and apply the sixt phenomena to them. It reminded me of Collum McCann's writing, and how his characters and plot lines intersect so intricately.
Join Date: 09/09/13
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