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a constellation of vital phenomenon

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I’ve just started reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra. I’m 87 pages in and I’ve cried twice, sobbed twice, and, on multiple occasions, felt like I was punched in the gut. This book absolutely heart wrenching. It takes place over 12 years in Chechnya, between the two wars that ravaged the area during its push for autonomy from Russia. Everything I’ve heard about the book has said that it is outstanding, magical, will make you believe in miracles. But so far I feel completely overwhelmed. Marra is an excellent writer. He writes with a pregnant sparsity. His prose is so carefully worked, with an economy of words that somehow is as tangible to the reader as if it were happening in front of them or to them. I’m blown away. He has an uncanny insight into the human experience that he’s able to distill down into these magical passages that take your breath away. The New York Times likened his writing to Jonathan Safran Foer’s voice in Everything is Illuminated and the comparison is spot-on. This book is incredible so far and I already know I’ll only be able to read this book in small sections. I can’t handle the weight of his writing for longer than that.

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