A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

Front Cover
Hogarth, 2013 - Fiction - 384 pages
2 Reviews
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

User Review  - WW - Book Verdict

"On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones." With this ravishing opening sentence, debut novelist Marra plunges us into a world of ... Read full review

Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

User Review  - Jen - Goodreads

This is a book that made me pause, reflect and pause again. To say this was an excellent book would be an understatement. This is a story about death, grief, hope and joy. The story takes place in ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

ANTHONY MARRA is the winner of a Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle's inaugural John Leonard Prize and the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, as well as the inaugural 2014 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. Marra's novel was a National Book Award long list selection as well as a shortlist selection for the Flaherty-Dunnan first novel prize. In addition, his work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he now teaches as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, CA. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is his first novel. Visit http://anthonymarra.net/

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