BOOK REVIEW: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

November 22, 2013

in Books

a constellation of vital phenomena

I am so very glad that I picked up this book. Anthony Marra has won a ton of writing awards, and there is a good reason why.

The book opens with the line, ““On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.” This melting of the whimsical and the real follows the story from start to finish. Marra’s writing takes you beyond the world he thrusts you into. Without that “otherness” I’m not sure I would have survived this novel.

Havva is from Chechnya. After the Boston Marathon bombing, I had to look up where Chechnya was on the map. Marra drops us into this war torn country from 1994 to 2004, a time of two wars within a single decade in a country that was already torn apart by war. However, the wars are really just background to the story that makes this book more than well worth your time.

The odds of survival for the characters in this story are not good. And they are aware of those odds. What transpires in this novel is a struggle within each character to find a way through, to remain faithful to who they are, or accept what they have been willing to do to survive.

I don’t give out 5 stars very often. In order for a book to get 5 stars, I have to not want to put it down. I have to not want to let go when it’s over. I have to be so entrenched in the story that it changes my perspective. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena did just that.

5 star rating

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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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