(I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)
To me, a perfect book is something written in breath-taking language with a plot that drives the reader onward. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of those books.
The unusual title comes from a medical textbook’s definition of life. And that what this novel is, an examination of life across the years in the war-torn Chechnya amid people scarred both on and beneath the flesh.
These characters broke my heart with their sacrifices and betrayals, plumbing the heights and depths of the soul’s struggle to survive and still remain honorable.
At the beginning of the novel I wondered if the author could maintain the novel’s countless plot threads and interconnections. But he wove together them in a web as delicate, yet every bit as strong as a spider’s web. Even the minor mentions of a frozen wolf carcass at the beginning figure in the end.
I would heartily recommend this novel for its literary merit and as an epic journey through Chechen history and the human spirit. I am eager for the next Anthony Marra novel. Five Stars!