A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

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Product Details

Large Print Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 1.3 X 8.3 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

ANTHONY MARRA is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, with an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He's won a Pushcart Prize, the Whiting Writers' Award, the Prairie Lights Fiction Prize and first place in the" Atlantic"'s emerging writers' contest and in "Narrative"'s short story contest.


#1 Indie Next List Pick
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick
An O, The Oprah Magazine Debut Novel to Pick Up Now
"Anthony Marra's fine debut novel reaches tenderly, unflinchingly into the centre of Chechen 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
"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
"The book encompasses torture, infidelity, heartbreak and human trafficking, but also love, friendship, family and humour. Marra doesn't gloss over the horrors of the Chechen wars. But he doesn't dwell either, and despite the subject matter, this is not an exclusively dark book. In his afterword, Marra acknowledges a debt to Michael Ondaatje. Like Ondaatje's "Anil's Ghost," "Vital Phenomena "is about the gaps left behind by the forcibly disappeared. It's a difficult subject for fiction, but one Marra manages with a voice that approaches something like the gauzy beauty of Ondaatje's prose."
"The simplest life cannot precisely be put down in details or marks on a page--the spirit fundamentally escapes language, if only because we can't pronounce the words. Nonetheless, "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" proves that if anything, it's better, more beautiful and necessary to keep trying."
--Emily M. Keeler, "The Globe and Mail"
"Some good novels catch fire immediately, as if a writer had simply opened a Zippo lighter..