New York Times Notable Book of the Year 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.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year New York Times Bestseller National Book Award Longlist Selection A Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year Washington Post Bestseller NPR Bestseller Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Winner An ALA Notable Book of the Year A #1 Indie Pick An Amazon.com Best Book of the Year A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Books of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year A Library Journal Top 10 Book of the Year NBCC John Leonard Prize Winner Named one of the Best Books of the Year by: New York Magazine Chicago Tribune Kansas City Star GQ NPR Christian Science Monitor San Francisco Chronicle Cleveland Plain Dealer "Brilliant." -New York Times "A flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles....Here, in fresh, graceful prose, is a profound story that dares to be as tender as it is ghastly, a story about desperate lives in a remote land that will quickly seem impossibly close and important....I haven't been so overwhelmed by a novel in years. At the risk of raising your expectations too high, I have to say you simply must read this book." -Ron Charles, Washington Post "Extraordinary....a 21st century War and Peace....Marra seems to derive his astral calm in the face of catastrophe directly from Tolstoy." -Madison Smartt Bell, New York Times Book Review "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is ambitious and intellectually restless....[Marra is] a lover not a fighter, a prose writer who resembles the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 and the Jonathan Safran Foer of Everything Is Illuminated." -Dwight Garner, New York Times "Over and over again, this is an examination of the ways in which many broken pieces come together to make a new whole. In exquisite imagery, Marra tends carefully to the twisted strands of grace and tragedy....Everything in A Constellation of Vital Phenomena...is dignified with a hoping, aching heartbeat." -Ramona Ausubel, San Francisco Chronicle "The most moving book I've read in years. By writing so beautifully about a tiny village in Chechnya, this 28-year-old Washington native has produced a timeless tragedy about the victims of war." -Ron Charles, Washingtonian "A powerful tale....The moment Akhmed walks into the hospital with Havaa...rivals anything Michael Ondaatje has written in its emotional force....There are many reasons to read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena....to marvel at the lack of fear in a writer so young. To read a book that can bring tears to your eyes and force laughter from your lungs....But the one I kept returning to, the best reason to read this novel, is that this story reminds us how senseless killing often wrenches kindness through extreme circumstances." -John Freeman, Boston Globe "[A Constellation of Vital Phenomena] pulls together blown-out bits of a world turned inside-out to create a brutal form of beauty from chaos....its prose is also ruefully funny in places and littered throughout with dazzling poetry." -John Barron, Chicago Tribune "Amazing...brilliant...one of the most accomplished and affecting books I've read in a very long time....Though the lives lived in this novel can seem unbearable, what Anthony Marra has done is to diligently describe them in passionate, extraordinary prose." -Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings, for NPR "With remarkable pathos and a surprising amount of humor, Marra keeps the focus on the relationships, struggles, and tiny triumphs of an unforgettable group of characters....Marra creates a specific and riveting world around his characters, expertly revealing the unexpected connections among them....this novel, full of humanity and hope, ultimately leaves you uplifted. Constellation deserves to be on the short list for every major award. It's an absolute masterpiece." -Sarah Jessica Parker for Entertainment Weekly "Marra is trying to capture some essence of the lives of men and women caught in the pincers of a brutal,