A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Anthony Marra

Random House

Stegner Fellow, Iowa MFA, and winner of The Atlantic’s Student Writing Contest, Anthony Marra has written a brilliant debut novel that brings to life an abandoned hospital where a tough-minded doctor decides to harbor a hunted young girl, with powerful consequences.

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.

With The English Patient’s dramatic sweep and The Tiger’s Wife’s expert sense of place, Marra gives us a searing debut about the transcendent power of love in wartime, and how it can cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible.

New York Times Bestseller


Anisfield-Wolf Award

Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Award winner

Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize

Flaherty-Dunnan Prize 2013 Long List

Indies Choice Awards finalist

National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard Prize

New York Public Library Young Lions Award finalist

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize nominee

Best of Year


Chicago Tribune

Christian Science Monitor


Library Journal


New York Times Notable

Publishers Weekly


San Francisco Chronicle

Shelf Awareness

Washington Post