Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I haven't read what GR friends have said about this book--I'm coming to it a little later than most--which made it all the more of a pleasure. The story traces the character's lives and the moral choices they have made in their struggle to survive. You can now purchase books directly from Penguin Random House on RIF. I look forward to more from this author. I was inspired with Marra’s ability to portray how in the face of war’s devastation, people focus their purpose on whatever family members or shreds of community they retain, and when even that is gone, they forge a virtual family. What does A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ultimately say about anguish and joy? 2. After reading the blurb, I knew this is going to be a sad story but what I didn’t know was that it was going to be this disappointing. Author: Anthony Marra. one time too many. Account & Lists Account & Lists Returns & Orders. What do his daughter’s memories of him say about his hopes and fears? Why near the conclusion did I just listen to get to the end? ― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena “There was a time when she had indulged in the hypothetical for hours a day, plotting the map that had led her here. As well as being the most cleverly structured novel I’ve read all year A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon also features some of the most memorable characters. The focus was clearly on the human side. Two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child in this majestic debut about love, … A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is such a book. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is the 2013 debut novel by American author Anthony Marra. What is Dokka’s greatest vulnerability? We all know, as William Tecumseh Sherman once noted, that “War is Hell!” Later, Jean-Paul Sartre concluded that “Hell is other people.” It therefore stands to reason that war is other people. Good thing for me that it's about others because what Marra described in this book sounded awful. 3. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, CA. 12. I knew little of Chechnya, and Marra does a masterful job of supplying enough information without weighing down the narrative. The story takes place in worn torn Chechny and flashes back over the characters lives during 5 precious days. The story, told from an omniscient point of view , begins one morning in … If you read as much as I do (or even if you don't), you're bound to come across a book that is hailed by literary critics and readers as one of the greatest things ever, but no matter how much you try and read it and are determined to love it, it just doesn't click for you. Book Publishing. Would you become an informant if your life depended on it? A Constellation of Vital Phenomena does not feel pedantic or didactic, though, informative as it is. Dismemberment. ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. I know that happens most often with the classics, but it certainly happens with "regular" fiction and nonfiction as well. The definition of a foot. AConstellationof"Vital"Phenomena" " President’s"Address" LaSierraUniversity"Academic"Convocation" September"26,"2013" " He#has#shown#you,#O#mortal,#whatis#good.# “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” is set against the tangle of wars, occupations and insurgencies that have racked Chechnya since the early 1990s. I know how I felt while reading this book, but why? But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”, “Life: a constellation of vital phenomena—organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation.”, National Book Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award Nominee (2014), Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction (2014), California Book Award for First Fiction (Gold) (2013), PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Nominee for Shortlist (2014), Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee for Fiction (2014), National Book Critics Circle Award for John Leonard Prize (2013), The Athens Prize for Literature - Περιοδικό (δέ)κατα (2014), Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Fiction (2014), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2013). All rights reserved. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena takes what might be, for many readers, a tragic but distant muddle, and makes it real, in that paradoxical way that only fiction can. He saves his 8 year old daughter, Haava, by forcing her out into the black of night with her already packed. Leaving three sisters and myself in a cou. She flipped through the book and found answers to questions no sane person would ever ask. It's also a difficult book to read. Try It's humane and absurd, and rarely out of touch with the Joseph-Heller-like notion that, as Mr. Marra puts it, "stupidity was the single abiding law of the universe. Their human spirit shines through like the grass that grows in the cracks of a sidewalk. I give it 5 stars. 6. Sex slavery. Fearing the worst, their lifelong neighbor Akhmed rescues the girl and seeks refuge at the bombed-out hospital run by Sonja, a brilliant but tough-as-nails female surgeon. He saves his 8 year old daughter, Haava, by forcing her out into the black of night with her already packed suitcase. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena won the John Leonard prize for a first book from the National Book Critics Circle. When is this an advantage, and when is it a disadvantage? In addition, his work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published I loved this book! Copyright ©1995-2021 Penguin Random House. Ostensibly the novel is set in Chechnya though in many ways the novel depicts a generic modern war and the terrifying lawlessness that prevails in an invaded country. ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. Welcome back. I originally learned about this book when it was. I started off lost in a coulee reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena with seven of my Traveling Sisters and some of us really got lost in this story. Over the course of five extraordinary days, their worlds will unravel in unimaginable ways, culminating in a breathtaking, ultimately affirming turn of fate. Leaving three sisters and myself in a coulee continuing to read this story together. 4. 11. [ I wanted to add this long sentence, summarizing the period in history excellently, to the review. In this haunting masterwork, award-winning author Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya. It's also a difficult book to read. But no life is a line, and hers was an uneven orbit around a dark star, a moth … The lyricism of the long sentence is what captivated me at the time, but it also encapsulates much of what else is also wonderful about this book, e.g., the omniscient voice that many times gives us a glimpse of the future and the author's handling of time, in general. The average length of a femur. How are cultural identities shaped in the midst of political, military, economic, and religious power struggles? The Chechnya of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a world of haunted objects, whose very specific little stories give a sense, far more eloquently than any tranche of exposition, of its tragic place in world affairs. The engrossing story was heartbreaking, uplifting, sad, and confirmed the best in people in terrible sit. We’d love your help. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize and the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, as well as the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. Accused of aiding Chechen rebels, her father has suffered the brutality of the Feds before. Young and old, ethnic Russians and Chechen Muslims, the characters' lives intersect in such a way that they cannot hate each other with the intensity prescribed by their ancestors. The novel isn’t so much about the wars in Chechnya per se as how individuals relate to each other when law and order has been perverted out of all recognition and they only have their own moral compass as a guide. Oh, what a joy to read a fully-realized, beautifully written, totally engrossing novel. Enter to win our favorite new reads, bookish goodies, and so much more. What can fiction reveal about history that a memoir or history book cannot? The passage (actually one long sentence) is about a younger brother along with his family (whom the readers never see again) at the village doctor's (a better artist than he is a doctor) to describe his 'disappeared' older brother in order for the doctor to draw his portrait. It can feel satisfying on one level with everything fitting so neatly (who has crossed paths with whom, etc.) *** Granta Best of Young American Novelists 2017 ***In a snow-covered village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as her father is abducted in the middle of the night by Russian soldiers. It takes place in post-war Chechnya, but don't be alarmed if you don't know much about the Chechen conflict with Russia — the rich storytelling and the gorgeous prose will draw you in, and by the end of the book you could captivate an audience with these wartime stories. I have a few small quibbles, the first being the ove. So I, too, would like to ask if readers might recommend other work, whether by this author or others with the following elements: literary fiction (preferably historical), extraordinary prose, deeply engaging characters, of course, a good and meaningful story? In A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra explores the emotional complexities of life in a war-plagued place, as the upheaval of conflict and death reshape the … 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. 7. Which of the novel’s cultural details surprised you the most? What accounts for the very different fates of Natasha and Sonja? As life pulled some of the sisters away from the story they became really lost with their focus and had to leave the coulee and return back to read this at another time. Good thing for me that it's about others because what Marra described in this book sounded awful. Russ. To say this was an excellent book would be an understatement. The end of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena isn’t neatly tied up. We all found our comfy spot to read this and were drawn into this densely vivid heavy in-depth plot that demanded our full attention. Wishing I could read this again for the first time. Yet again I am left baffled by the glowing reviews and the hype. February 4th 2014 Nothing for insanity by grief, or insanity by loneliness, or insanity by reading reference books. 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. The story takes place in worn torn Chechny and flashes back over the characters lives during 5 precious days. --"Maclean's ""The simplest life cannot precisely be put down in details or marks on a page--the spirit fundamentally escapes language, if only because we can't pronounce the words. Murder. A National Book Awards Longlist Selection" "A "New York Times" and "Washington Post" bestseller 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. Despite his many weaknesses, how does he become a source of strength for the loved ones in his life? Every now and then, a book comes along that restores my faith in the future of the novel all over again. Two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child in this majestic debut about love, … I picked this book for my “read an award winner” challenge. This was followed by The Tsar of Love and … An extension of that point is the flash forwards with all the random characters. Garnering rave reviews coast-to-coast, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is an unforgettable debut novel that deftly explores the human cost of war—and the healing power of hope. She is found by Akhmed, the neighbouring doctor, who makes it his mission to ensure her safety and leads her to the one remaining hospital where he delivers her to the doctor, Sonja. Life: a constellation of vital phenomena. On page 1322 of a medical dictionary - Life: a constellation of vital phenomena - organisation, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation. I had high expectations of this book after seeing a few recommendations from friends here. 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