BookBrowse Reviews A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

by Anthony Marra

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
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  • First Published:
    May 2013, 400 pages
    Feb 2014, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Set in Chechnya, this beautiful debut novel shines light on lives that have been ripped asunder by conflict and shows how people can survive even in the bleakest of circumstances

Winner of the BookBrowse 2013 Best Debut Award
Anthony Marra's debut novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is set in 2004 in war-torn Chechnya. As the story opens, village physician Akhmed is trying to get his eight-year-old neighbor Havaa to safety after her father has been "disappeared" by Russian soldiers, who have also burned her home to the ground and are actively looking for her. He decides to take the girl to a nearby hospital, where he hopes the only surgeon in attendance, Sonja Rabina, will be able to hide and protect her. As the novel proceeds we learn these characters' backstories as well as those of others with whom their lives intersect, and how all have been traumatically impacted by living in a war zone. Marra weaves a wonderfully complex tale around these characters that abounds with old secrets and unexpected convergences.

As I started writing this review I got ...

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