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Winner of the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard Prize
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
National Book Award Longlist Selection
A Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year
An ALA Notable 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
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
In a nearly abandoned hospital in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa, her neighbor Akhmed, who rescues her after her father's disappearance, and Sonja, the doctor tending to her, ruminate on their pasts and confront the tragedy and hope that mark them and their war-ravaged land. Anthony Marra is a Stegner Fellow, Iowa MFA, and winner of The Atlantic's Student Writing Contest.
“Remarkable and breathtaking, Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a spellbinding elegy for an overlooked land engulfed by an oft-forgotten war. Set in the all-too-real Chechen conflict, Marra conjures fragile and heartfelt characters whose fates interrogate the very underpinnings of love and sacrifice.” –Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son
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, New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
“Powerful, convincing, beautifully realized--it's hard to believe that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a first novel. Anthony Marra is a writer to watch and savor.”
—T.C. BOYLE, New York Times bestselling author of When the Killing’s Done and The Women
“Anthony Marra’s novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is both devastating and transcendent. The story of eight people (and a nation) navigating two brutal wars, it’s a novel of loyalty and sacrifice and enduring love. You’ll finish it transformed.”
—MAILE MELOY, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
“Anthony Marra’s fine debut novel reaches tenderly, unflinchingly, into the center of the Chechnyan conflict of the late 1990s. This tale has its roots in shocking brutality, and its beauty in the human redemption that can come from unaccountable human kindness. Whimsies of circumstance, fate, and the ties of family and faith serve to guide the reader and the characters through a richly layered and deeply beautiful journey.”
─VINCENT LAM, author of The Headmaster’s Wager
“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena