A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
31
1
1
 …
Rate this:
In a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor Akhmed harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series of wounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.
Publisher: New York : Hogarth, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780770436407
0770436404
Branch Call Number: Fiction Mar
Characteristics: 384 p. ; 25 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

e
emahony
Jun 20, 2017

I loved it!! All the reviews are correct, depending on your preferences and point of view. But I absolutely loved it to death. I can't find anything I want to read since I've read this. It's tragic, for sure. But so beautifully written. It captivated me from beginning to end and I give it out as gifts to certain people. If you can't read about darkness, don't pick up this one.

j
jr3083
Apr 24, 2017

Reading the debut book of a writer whose second book you really liked is a bit of a gamble. What if s/he only found firm footing with the second book? What if the first was a dud?

I needn’t have worried. There are similarities between Anthony Marra’s second book The Tsar of Love and Techno in that both books have sections set in Chechnya (in fact, the whole of Constellation is set there) and they both have oblique titles, but this book focusses more on a small group of people and is ‘straighter’...

I know very little Chechnyan history, but I feel that I know more having read this book- and what an easy, seductive way to learn it.

All of this written with wisdom and compassion and with landscapes and people described so clearly that you can see it. He's good; very good.
For my complete review, see
https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/a-constellation-of-vital-phenomena-by-anthony-marra/

v
vancouverville
Feb 01, 2017

I persisted with this book. The writing was beautiful, but at times confusing. It was heartbreaking to read about the terrible effects of war. Most of the characters were well developed and I liked how the stories overlapped.

brianreynolds Jan 11, 2017

Anthony Marra’s prose dances a tightrope between poetic eloquence and tedious extravagance. Often it charmed me with metaphors one had to stop and celebrate; just as often I found myself falling asleep on a long train ride composed of parallel constructions or lists or rambling similes. The narrative was more brutal than anyone I personally know would use the words “enjoy” or “become absorbed by” to describe reading it. I wanted to put it down. Never having killed or tortured anyone myself, I’m not prepared to say it wasn’t realistic. I didn’t put it down. In fact, A Constellation was so ironic in its tone, I had great difficulty accepting the author’s attempt to shape it at the last minute into an archetypal comedy. Not fair. Not good enough to simply say this or that will happen seven or ten years in the future, when everything that leads up to the conclusion points to there being no future at all for either of the survivors. I have no quarrel that the book is brilliant. Nor is the story unimportant in any sense. It was not an easy read, but I’m sure Marra would counter: it’s not an easy century to live in.

b
becker
Sep 16, 2016

Well written for a debut novel. I picked up a quick history lesson about a modern day conflict that I knew very little about. It is well researched and the characters are well developed.

s
SuzeParker
Jun 13, 2016

Anthony Marra vividly paints a portrait of people who are at their best and worst under extreme circumstances. I had some difficulty following the time jumps, but the book is beautifully written and the ending made the slower portions worthwhile.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

No words are wasted in Anthony Marra's debut novel about Chechnya. The plot is woven very intricately; every loose strand is tied before the book reaches its conclusion. And what a beautiful tapestry it is. It's lyrical and affecting, intelligent but never boring. The scenery and characters come alive. Marra does a fabulous job of crafting a moving novel without becoming overly sentimental. In short, I cannot praise this book enough.

Baxter555 May 19, 2016

I wasn't too sure about this book when I first started. I almost did not complete it; but as the story progressed, I finally found myself wanting to know how the book ends. There were words that I did not understand and some grammar that might have come from interpretation from another language and that seemed to be throwing me off. All in all, I would highly suggest this book.

PimaLib_StephanieM Feb 22, 2016

A dense but worthwhile story that will force you into the shoes of those who experienced both Chechen wars. At times, you may find yourself sympathetic with otherwise unlikable and downright detestable characters. To me, this is a hallmark of good writing.

l
lburroughs
Jan 24, 2016

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra is a beautifully written novel. It is a powerful story. The characters Havaa, Dokka, Akemed, Sonja, Ula, Natasha, Khassan, and Ramzan are well crafted in a story that weaves their threads through those of the other characters. Although it is not told in a linear manner, the going back and forth between decades, even into the future, actually supports this narrative.

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability

s
sabricent
Dec 10, 2013

sabricent thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

m
maggielo
Aug 19, 2015

11 copies, russian war, yng girl saved by physician neighbor

Quotes

Add a Quote

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

We wear clothes, and speak, and create civilizations, and believe we are more than wolves. But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SJCPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top