Wednesday, May 8, 2013

TLC Book Tours: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Title: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Author: Anthony Marra
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Hogarth
Publish Date: May 7, 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You love powerful stories.
  • You love great characters.
  • You love good writing.
What's the Story?:

From "In his brilliant, haunting novel, Stegner Fellow and Whiting Award winner Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her 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 the talented, tough-minded 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. And she has a deeply personal reason for caution: harboring these refugees could easily jeopardize the return of her missing sister. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weave 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."

My Two Cents:

Let me just say that "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" was such an amazing book. It is so hard to believe that this is Marra's debut novel. This is one of the books where I am having a hard time describing it to people just because I'm so worried about giving the story its due justice. The subject matter of this book centers around the Chechen wars in Russia in the 1990s and mid-2000s and focuses on several characters whose lives and destinies are interwoven with each other.

This book is heartbreaking but redeeming. I loved so many of the characters in this book. You really want them to pull through and for things to be okay for them. There are a lot of characters in this book but the way that Marra weaves them together is pretty amazing. He focuses on the people that in many ways are innocent bystanders in all of the violence going on in Chechnya. I thought it was such an interesting way to allow the reader into the world of this region.

I fancy myself relatively knowledgeable about history and politics but admittedly I do not know very much about Chechnya at all. I know a little bit about the various wars and the politics of the area but this book gives a really intimate view of the war and the effect that it had on the people of the region. Although this book is fiction, I think that it gives really good insight into what happened to this region and how the past events are continuing to impact what is happening in this region today. I know that I certainly have a better understanding of Chechnya. In the author's note, you get to see how much

Marra's writing is one of the stars of this book. Overall, the writing is very good. He pulls you very deeply into the lives of these characters. Ahhh! It's so hard to describe. One minute he's writing something really serious that made me tear up and the next, he's sliding in a little bit of humor that comes out of nowhere.

I know that I will eagerly be anticipating his next release!


I am extremely excited to be able to give away a copy of this amazing book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. From the review it looks like a compelling story with a setting that I am not very familiar with.

  2. I was already intrigued by this book (how could you not be with that awesome title??) but now that I see you gave it a rating of 5 it is moving to the tippy top of my TBR!

    Thanks for the giveaway Meg!!

  3. You loved this book, and you have lots of company. I'm sure I'll love it, too. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for featuring this intriguing novel which interests me very much. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. This sounds like an absolutely fascinating book. I would love to read it.

  6. This sounds like an amazing book - one that I definitely would not have picked up myself as it is totally different from my usual genre. Your review makes me want to run right out to the store and buy this one!

  7. Checynia is such an interesting, mysterious place. This book sounds good!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. A five-star rating for a debut is certainly a clue as to how good this book really is! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  9. "This is one of the books where I am having a hard time describing it to people just because I'm so worried about giving the story its due justice."
    I felt this same way the entire time I was writing my in the world do I describe this absolutely fantastic piece of literature??
    So enjoyed your review :)

  10. This was not a book that caught my attention at first glance, but I keep reading positive reviews about it so now I want to read it. Thanks for the review and giveaway!


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