A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Quotes by Anthony Marra
quotes from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: 'We wear clothes, and speak, and create “Invader and invaded held on to their fistfuls of earth, but in the end, the earth outlived the hands that held it. . tags: love, passion, relationships. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena has ratings and reviews. Jeanette I loved this book and did not want it to end. It is a book about human connection and about how little acts of kindness can create more kindness. It is a. Reading guide for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra - discussion guide for book clubs. relationship to Akhmed's marriage to Ula— transformed in a land of warlords? Discuss the book's closing lines in that context.
She has now become the target of the Russian military and Akmed has volunteered to keep her safe. Her suitcase that she carries, however, holds a secret that weave some of our characters together. She becomes a victim of sex-trafficking, a drug addict, and is dealing with PTSD after all she has been through. We follow Natasha through both of her disappearances and discover the outcome of both of those, although Sonja never does.
Is a scholarly elder neighbor and friend to Akmed and became one of the most endearing characters to me. Khassam writes a book on Chechnya and its history, yet only gets a fraction of his thousands upon thousands of pages published. He is in a nonexistent relationship with his son because his son has become an informant.
- The Cast of Characters
- First Reads
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Summary & Study Guide Description
His best friends have now become a pack of feral dogs. Ramzan has become an informant after two times of brutal torture.
Dokka has suffered horrible mutilation when he is tortured during this war. He is a kind soul that takes in refugees during the war. He is abducted by Russian soldiers in the opening chapter and accused of aiding Chechen rebels. He is not a central character to this story, as those above are, but his story does weave into these other six characters in some unexpected ways.
As a reader, we were able to follow the timeline from as it moved forwards and backwards through time, taking the reader on a journey of what each of these characters went through during the war and how it had impacted each of them as people. In this novel, two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child named Havaa. Havaa is just eight years old when her neighbor Akhmed finds her hiding in the woods, watching her house burning down. Akhmed knows getting involved means risking his life, but her father is an old friend, and he risks it all deciding to take her to an abandoned hospital where a woman named Sonja Rabina runs a hospital almost single handedly.
Sonja does not love kids…at all. I found myself completely swept away into each of these characters and what they had to overcome. Although the book was about war and suffering, the book was also all about love and what we do for love. This entire book was so beautiful that I reread some of the scenes over again. For example, the scenes when Natasha finally has some happiness and purpose when delivering babies in the hospital, brought me a lot of joy as a reader. The scenes when Khassam goes to visit Ula to tell her his secrets because he knows her failing mind will never remember them truly moved me to tears.
The beautifully drawn portraits that Akhmed drew that hung in the street deeply moved me as a reader.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Summary & Study Guide
Everything about this book seemed to have significance and meaning. Marra frequently writes of what we can expect to come from these characters and even clues us in on their longevity through an omniscient voice that help us sometimes know whether we should get too attached or worried about the next scenes outcome.
When Marra brings it all together, it is beautiful and surprisingly hopeful, especially when we learn of the fate of the beautiful Havva. I am so honored that Anthony Marra has agreed to speak with us today, to share more about this amazing book. You can become a fan of Anthony Marra on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. In short, he is a big deal, and he is talking with us today!
Nearly as soon as I finished the short story, I realized that the characters, their pasts and futures, stretched much farther than a twenty-five page piece of short fiction could contain. The next several years were my attempts to explore that land more deeply and draw a map of what I had found.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Many times as a reader we are clued in on the fates of these characters, even during pivotal scenes, which is a rarity as a reader. Was this style of omniscient narrating difficult to flesh out since you had to know how these characters stories would develop?
My writing process is largely based on retyping. I find this useful for a few reasons. First, it forces you to go through the book at a glacial pace, meaning you end up noticing both the inconsistencies and the small resonances you might miss if you were moving through the book at a rate of more than a page an hour.
Second, it tricks your mind into returning to the same creative well from which the sentences first emerged, letting the language change organically from the inside out, rather than through the transposition of red-pen edits.
Third, and most important, you begin to see the scene both as you write it, and through your earlier imaginings. There was a David Hockney exhibition here in San Francisco a few months back, and there were entire walls of the same landscape painted again and again, in different seasons and different mediums. I had a similar experience writing this book. Up until the fourth retyping of it, the novel was told in a very limited third person perspective. The reader never knew or saw beyond a single character per chapter.
Here, in fresh, graceful prose, is a profound story that dares to be as tender as it is ghastly, a story about desperate lives in a remote land that will quickly seem impossibly close and important…. At the risk of raising your expectations too high, I have to say you simply must read this book. Marra seems to derive his astral calm in the face of catastrophe directly from Tolstoy.
In exquisite imagery, Marra tends carefully to the twisted strands of grace and tragedy…. Everything in A Constellation of Vital Phenomena…is dignified with a hoping, aching heartbeat.
February Book Club Discussion With the Author: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
By writing so beautifully about a tiny village in Chechnya, this year-old Washington native has produced a timeless tragedy about the victims of war. The moment Akhmed walks into the hospital with Havaa…rivals anything Michael Ondaatje has written in its emotional force…. There are many reasons to read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena…. To read a book that can bring tears to your eyes and force laughter from your lungs….
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
But the one I kept returning to, the best reason to read this novel, is that this story reminds us how senseless killing often wrenches kindness through extreme circumstances. Though the lives lived in this novel can seem unbearable, what Anthony Marra has done is to diligently describe them in passionate, extraordinary prose.
Marra creates a specific and riveting world around his characters, expertly revealing the unexpected connections among them….