Title: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
I turned down page corner after page corner so that I could reread Marra's sumptuos sentences. This is not only a beautifully written book, but on that is beautifully conceived, taking us into the past, present, and future of the fully-realized characters that inhabit this war-torn Chechnian landscape. It marries heart with writing ability - a rare combination - for a great and highly recommended read. — From
6. In interviews author Anthony Marra has said he chose to write about Chechnya after spending his junior year in St. Petersburg during the time of the Chechnyan war. While there, he was fascinated by accounts of how ordinary people behaved in extraordinary situations—the kinds of moral choices they had to make. Talk about the characters in A Constellation of vital Phenomena who dramatize the tough moral choices Marra refers to...especially Ramzan and Khassan. Are there others? What choices do they make and why? How might you have responded in such horrific circumstances? Does morality change depending on the context?
"A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is simply spectacular. Not since Everything is Illuminated have I read a first novel so ambitious and fully realized. If this is where Anthony Marra begins his career, I can't imagine how far he will go" Ann Patchett "Storytelling of magical purity, illuminated by hope... Marra is a magnificent writer" -- Vanora Bennett The Times "An extraordinary first novel... A 21st-century War and Peace" New York Times "Both heart-wrenching and uplifting, a stunning, intricately plotted, brilliantly written, tour-de-force of a novel that burns into the memory" Choice "A powerful tale... rivals anything Michael Ondaatje has written in its emotional force" -- John Freeman Boston Globe