A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Large Print / Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Marra's (astonishingly) first novel defies ordinary adjectives, makes trivial the phrases we commonly use to praise great books. His small constellation of Chechen and Russian characters are as vital and phenomenal as any you could ever hope to encounter in a work of literature. — Stan Hynds

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena intertwines the lives of several war-torn Chechens. Marra's amazing debut novel will pull you into its beautifully crafted story of a ten-year struggle to defend Chechen history and culture. It will break your heart and make you grateful for your life. — Whitney Kaaz

I could try to write a polished explanation of why I am pressing this book into all the hands I can find but, I'm not even going to try...Simply put, this is a beautiful story. I finished it in a pool of tears. A must read. — Mary Allen

This dark but brilliant tale of Russia-ravaged Chechnya - and a select few exquisitely drawn natives/victims is more timely now than ever. Marra shows us the true human cost of hate and intolerance. — Jon Fine

May 2013 Indie Next List

“In A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA, Anthony Marra expertly balances the pain and suffering inflicted during the Chechen conflict with exquisite moments of loyalty, sacrifice, humility and enduring love. Marra intricately connects the lives of eight unforgettable characters in wholly unexpected ways, slowly revealing their collective past, present and future. But as their breathtaking stories compel you forward, slow down and savor the vivid imagery and lyrical prose on each and every page. Aptly named, Marra's debut is indeed phenomenal.”
— Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL


Stegner Fellow, Iowa MFA, and winner of the" Atlantic"'s emerging writer contest, Anthony Marra has written a brilliant debut novel that brings to life an abandoned hospital where a tough-minded doctor decides to harbour a hunted young girl, with powerful consequences.
In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, 8-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbour Akhmed to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonya, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees. Over the course of 5 dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonya reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate.
With "The English Patient"'s dramatic sweep and "The Tiger's Wife"'s expert sense of place, Marra gives us a searing debut about the transcendent power of love in wartime, and how it can cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible.

About the Author

ANTHONY MARRA is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, with an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He's won a Pushcart Prize, the Whiting Writers' Award, the Prairie Lights Fiction Prize and first place in the" Atlantic"'s emerging writers' contest and in "Narrative"'s short story contest.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781594136863
ISBN-10: 1594136866
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Large Print Press
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Pages: 629
Language: English