A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
By Anthony Marra
(Hogarth, Hardcover, 9780770436407, 383pp.)
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
List Price: $26.00*
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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.
Two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child in this majestic debut about love, loss, and the unexpected ties that bind us together. “On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.” Havaa, eight years old, hides in the woods and watches the blaze until her neighbor, Akhmed, discovers her sitting in the snow. Akhmed knows getting involved means risking his life, and there is no safe place to hide a child in a village where informers will do anything for a loaf of bread, but for reasons of his own, he sneaks her through the forest to the one place he thinks she might be safe: an abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded. Though Sonja protests that her hospital is not an orphanage, Akhmed convinces her to keep Havaa for a trial, and over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.
Have you ever found yourself in the library or a bookstore, about to leave for vacation, with no idea what books to bring? Well, never fear. NPR's Lynn Neary talks to three book critics about the best reads of the summer. More at NPR.org
Anthony Marra's debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, takes place in war-torn Chechnya â?? a world of perpetual violence, fear and exploding land mines. But reviewer Meg Wolitzer says the characters are so vivid and the language so brilliant you want to stay there. More at NPR.org
Read an exclusive excerpt of Anthony Marra's new novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. More at NPR.org
- Before reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, how much did you know about Chechnya? Which of the novel’s cultural details surprised you the most? What can fiction reveal about history that a memoir or history book cannot?