A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Constellation of Vital

NEW this week…

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel by Anthony Marra

3 of 5 stars

After Havaa’s father is abducted by Russian soldiers for aiding the Chechen rebels, a family friend brings her to Sonja, a tough-minded surgeon with her own connection to the war.

He had always tried to treat Havaa as a child and she always went along with it, as though childhood and innocence were fantastical creatures that had died long ago, resurrected only in games of make believe.

Wow, who needs dystopian speculative fiction when not even a decade ago, such things were happening in our own world?  Through the 1990s and early 2000s, the Chechen Republic (formerly part of the USSR) were subject to two brutal wars when Russia tried to take back the area.  This book takes place throughout those years, and really opened my eyes to a very recent conflict to which I was previously unaware.

Marra has a very descriptive writing style, with wonderful prose, and I liked how the plot wove the characters together, connecting them with one another through their past and present.

This is not, however, a book for the faint-hearted.  It includes detailed descriptions of violence, torture, amputation, human trafficking, and castration.  These elements made it rather difficult to read.  Also, there are a lot of characters, and while they’re all very unique, I still had difficulties remember who was related to whom or how they were connected, particularly early on in the novel.  And while the point of view jumps around, so does the timeline.  Though we follow Havaa’s story in order, these sections are surrounded by chapters that do not go in chronological order, which added to my early-on confusion about who was who.

Overall: An intense novel that gives a glimpse into the brutality of the Chechen Wars.

TLCBookToursCheck out what other TLC bloggers have to say about this book:

Tuesday, May 7th:  Caribousmom

Wednesday, May 8th:  A Bookish Affair

Thursday, May 9th:  Unabridged Chick

Friday, May 10th:  Luxury Reading

Monday, May 13th:  Book Hooked Blog

Tuesday, May 14th:  Broken Teepee

Wednesday, May 15th:  BookChickDi

Thursday, May 16th:  The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Friday, May 17th:  Peppermint Ph.D.

Monday, May 20th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, May 21st:  Speaking of Books

Wednesday, May 22nd:  Chaotic Compendiums

Thursday, May 23rd:  Knowing the Difference

Friday, May 24th:  The Relentless Reader

Tuesday, May 28th:  Book Chatter

Thursday, May 30th:  Books Speak Volumes

Monday, June 3rd:  Booklover Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 5th:  Rhapsody in Books



About WNK

Check out my book review blog! https://excellentlibrary.wordpress.com/

2 responses to “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena”

  1. Heather J. @ TLC says :

    “who needs dystopian speculative fiction when not even a decade ago, such things were happening in our own world?” Very true!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Patti Smith says :

    I felt the same way you did about dystopian fiction compared to real life events spotlighted in Marra’s novel. Definitely not one for the faint of heart, but I loved it as much as I loved The Kite Runner. Enjoyed your review 🙂

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