A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena

A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena

Paperback | February 4, 2014

byAnthony Marra

not yet rated|write a review
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.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$15.82 online
$19.95 list price (save 20%)
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena

Paperback | February 4, 2014
In stock online Available in stores
$15.82 online $19.95 (save 20%)

From the Publisher

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 ...

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.

other books by Anthony Marra

The Tsar Of Love And Techno: Stories
The Tsar Of Love And Techno: Stories

Paperback|Oct 6 2015

$15.18 online$24.95list price(save 39%)
De tsaar van liefde en techno
De tsaar van liefde en techno

Kobo ebook|Aug 31 2016

$21.93

see all books by Anthony Marra
Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 1.11 inPublished:February 4, 2014Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307362639

ISBN - 13:9780307362636

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Started as a four. Ended absolutely as a five! Being replete with spoilers, there's not a great deal to say about the story. Other than the sheer elegance of its construction, the raw beauty of its sentiment, and the emotional sucker punches of its endings. Anthony Marra channels the spirit of Russian literature: the miseries of history and fate, the glory of the individual, the love-hate bonds of family. All wrapped up in an understated little novel that affirms your doubts about humanity before turning around to crush those doubts with the infinite bounds of human goodness. Just like the imaginary lines that connect the dots of the constellations, life is fragile and ambiguous and Marra's book is the perfect study of life's constellation of vital phenomena. For while the dots of our lives may seemingly always be falling apart, they are actually rendered indissoluble by invisibly powerful forces around us.
Date published: 2014-12-08

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER #1 Indie Next List Pick An O, The Oprah Magazine Debut Novel to Pick Up Now FINALIST 2013 – Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel PrizeLONGLISTED 2013 – National Book AwardWINNER 2013 – NBCC John Leonard PrizeFINALIST 2014 – Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers AwardLONGLISTED 2014 – PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize"Anthony Marra's fine debut novel reaches tenderly, unflinchingly into the centre of Chechen conflict of the late 1990s. This tale has its roots in shocking brutality, and its beauty in the human redemption that can come from unaccountable human kindness. Whimsies of circumstance, fate, and the ties of family and faith serve to guide the reader and the characters through a richly layered and deeply beautiful journey." —Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster's Wager"Powerful, convincing, beautifully realized--it's hard to believe that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a first novel. Anthony Marra is a writer to watch and savor." —T.C. Boyle, New York Times bestselling author of When the Killing's Done and The Women“The book encompasses torture, infidelity, heartbreak and human trafficking, but also love, friendship, family and humour. Marra doesn’t gloss over the horrors of the Chechen wars. But he doesn’t dwell either, and despite the subject matter, this is not an exclusively dark book. In his afterword, Marra acknowledges a debt to Michael Ondaatje. Like Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, Vital Phenomena is about the gaps left behind by the forcibly disappeared. It’s a difficult subject for fiction, but one Marra manages with a voice that approaches something like the gauzy beauty of Ondaatje’s prose.” —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. Nonetheless, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena proves that if anything, it’s better, more beautiful and necessary to keep trying.” —Emily M. Keeler, The Globe and Mail  “Some good novels catch fire immediately, as if a writer had simply opened a Zippo lighter. Others come into being more gradually. The author cautiously tends to his or her kindling. Anthony Marra’s first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, belongs to the second category. It’s a slow burn….  The strange and invigorating thing about Mr. Marra’s novel…is how much human warmth and comedy he smuggles, like samizdat, into his busy story. At heart he’s a satirist, a lover not a fighter, a prose writer who resembles the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 and the Jonathan Safran Foer of Everything Is Illuminated. Mr. Marra’s humor floats most freely in his dialogue, which is both acidic and surreal. If novel writing does not work out for him, he might easily become a world-class playwright…. Mr. Marra is a lovely writer about families…. He is, in fact, a lovely writer about many things…. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is ambitious and intellectually restless. 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.’” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review  “A complex debut.... [Marra writes] with elegant details about the physical and emotional destruction of occupation and war.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)