Book review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

I’m no stranger to reading difficult subject matters but I was wholly unprepared for A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon. I would be the first to admit my ignorance to war and strife that occurs anywhere in the world but I don’t live under a rock; I’ve heard about Chechen Rebels. 

 
It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel by Anthony Marra, whose narrative is what kept me turning the pages long after I wanted to give up due to the seemingly senseless violence. 
 
This novel centers around Akmed, a failed doctor who would rather be an artist, Havaa, the little girl from across the street, who has lost everyone and everything. Sonja, an ethnic Russian surgeon, who runs the hospital with skilled coldness and Ramzan, the informer. 
 
Marra has the ability to tell their story by seamlessly piecing the characters’ lives together by sliding back and forth through the years. Each character is rich, detailed and flawed. But no less alive, if only within the pages. 
 
There were many times when I had to put this book down because I simply couldn’t handle how difficult it must’ve been for the Chechens during these wars. But in the end, I’m glad I did read this. 
 
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is published by Random House Canada and is available everywhere on May 7th 2013. 
 
CityGirls rating: 4 wine glasses out of 5 
images from google
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