A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Upon starting this book I had heard of Chechnya. I couldn’t point it out on a map though. Or even have told you what part of the world it was in.

This book takes you there. Not just in mind..but in spirit also. The author states he chose to write about this area after hearing about the death of journalist Anna Polikovskaya from her reporting she did from Chechnya. He read up on the non-fiction reports he could find from the area. I’m glad he did it. My eyes would have glazed over from the enormity of it. 

The story begins with 8 year old Haava seeing her father taken by soldiers in the middle of the night. Even at that young age she knows that her father isn’t returning. Akhmed her neighbors sweeps her up and runs because she is also a target. He hides her with a frustrated Russian Doctor named Sonja. 
Sonja and Akhmed are amazing characters. They both come to life in the book. I’ll remember Akhmed for a long time after finishing this. His humor in the face of such tragedy. He admits he is a horrible doctor with a wry sense. 

The story takes place over 5 days..5 days that will stick with the reader long afterward. The author does use flashbacks so that you become entwined in these characters lives. For a first book this book is absolutely amazing. 

I received an copy of this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.


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