A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
“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, New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
We’re not overstating it when we tell you that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of the best novels we’ve read . . . ever. Imagine The English Patient meets The Tiger’s Wife: a dramatic, sweeping story of love and war, with a clear sense of place and unforgettable characters.
Early readers on Amazon and Goodreads agree with us and with bestselling authors like Ann Patchett: Anthony Marra has written an exquisite debut. We want you RIFers to be among the very first readers to experience it.
Here’s the story. In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed – a failed physician – to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate.
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