A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
By Anthony Marra
(Hogarth, Paperback, 9780770436421, 396pp.)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
List Price: $15.00*
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In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.
For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But 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. 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.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content from the author.
- 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?