Rated of 5
by Diane S.
A constellation of Vital Phenomena
When I looked at the author's photo at the back of the book he looked to me to be about sixteen yrs. old, although a goodreads friend of mine assured me he was twenty-eight or twenty-nine. Even so I am jealous that someone this young could write such a fantastic first novel.
In the decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been many changes. One of the hardest hit areas has been Chechnya and it is here that this story takes place, midst the bombed out streets, the rubble and empty buildings, the black markets, the gun runners and the informers. Everyone is just trying to stay alive while others are trying to get out. It is a country that is up for grabs and it is not safe for anyone. It is about two sisters, one who goes to school in London and the other who stays and when she does get out it is not the way she planned. There are horrors, limbs being cut off, finger legs, many things difficult to read and yet there is humor to and hope. That the one sister will find the other, that the little girl, and you will fall in love with her, will live and prosper. The one thing Marra does, is take places or peripheral characters and tell you how it will look or where they will be years from now.
It is about the connectedness between people, about the vagaries of fate and about survival whatever it takes. It is about the way he treats all his characters with compassion. Quite simply I love the way he writes. I bet you he still gets carded though.