Picture of author.

Anthony Marra

Autor(a) de A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

6+ Works 3,750 Membros 292 Críticas 4 Favorited

About the Author

Anthony Marra received a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Narrative Magazine, and MAKE Magazine. His short story Chechnya won a 2010 Pushcart Prize and the 2010 Narrative Prize. His debut mostrar mais novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, was published in 2013 and received the inaugural John Leonard Prize. He also received 2018 Simpson Family Literary Prize. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos

Includes the name: Anthony Marra

Obras por Anthony Marra

Associated Works

xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (2013) — Contribuidor — 276 exemplares
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 (2012) — Contribuidor — 199 exemplares
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 (2016) — Contribuidor — 109 exemplares
Granta 139: Best of Young American Novelists (2017) — Contribuidor — 71 exemplares
2011 Pushcart Prize XXXV: Best of the Small Presses (2010) — Contribuidor — 39 exemplares

Etiquetado

Conhecimento Comum

Membros

Críticas

Interlinking stories set in Russia from the Stalinist purges to the Second Chechen War and beyond illuminate the human desire for connection with one another even in times that challenge our basic humanity. Marra repeats his feat of being a great Humanist novelist of contemporary Russia.
 
Assinalado
lelandleslie | 74 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Slow to start working for me, but ultimately a hard hitting and touching look at wartime survival and the theme of sacrifice. Set over 5 days in the post-second war guerrilla phase of fighting in the Chechen Republic in a small corner of Chechnya, this first novel is hardly epic in scope yet does range over the preceding decade and draws for the reader an outline of the brutal wars that took place there.

The question of sacrifice permeates the novel. When the story opens, the Russians are raiding a small village and taking away a man, Dokka, whom we understand immediately will not be left living much longer. His 8 year old daughter Havaa escaped, but the Russians want her too (shared familial guilt is also a Chechen concept, as is illustrated elsewhere). Their neighbor Akhmed, kind and compassionate and self-acknowledged worst doctor in Chechnya, will take her to a place where she will not be found, and in a few days an informer will turn him in for it, and that will do for Akhmed, our noble though not exactly ethically scrupulous hero.

A more interesting character though is Ramzan, the informer. At the start we feel the scorn one naturally feels for the informer who turns in his neighbors for execution, handsomely benefiting materially from his crimes. Later we learn that Ramzan has a much more complex and painful story than first appears, and if we can't forgive, we might at least comprehend.

Ramzan's father Khassan struggles deep in his soul with what his son has done. Though they must share a house in the village, he has not spoken to his son since the informing began almost two years previous. He endures guilt for the death Ramzan has brought to their neighbors and for his own failings as a father. He wonders if, like Abraham, he is called to sacrifice his son, and if he can kill his child by his own hand.

And there's Sonja, ethnically Russian but born and raised in Chechnya. A surgeon in London when the first war breaks out, she leaves her life and breaks off her pending marriage to return home and find her sister Natasha when the Russians withdraw after two years that have left Chechnya in ruins and Natasha missing.

While for the first 150 pages or so I found this to be an average book, interesting but afflicted with an obvious case of first-time-itis, the book really comes together beautifully and powerfully. The plot threads are unwound nearly perfectly, and the characters gain richness and depth and fragility. Which ultimately I think leaves me with a 4 star rating for a book that felt like it was a 5 by the time I turned the last page.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lelandleslie | 182 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
For the first hundred pages or so the tone was putting me off of it; Marra was clearly trying hard to amuse the great novel reading public with jokes and ironic humor and I was not feeling it.
She enjoyed wine spritzers, Virginia Woolf, probing the depths of his bellybutton, having affairs with men half her age, and buying overpriced paintings of people with their eyes and ears all mixed up.


Even worse was what he put into his characters’ mouths: “Still, I must admit, I like Jesus’s politics. Feeding the hungry, blessing the meek, wearing a robe to work.” Badda-bing! Eh.

But gradually the sweeping epic aspect and the rich characterization won me over. Kinda hard not to fall somewhat under the spell of a well written sweeping epic with rich characterization, I find. It reminded me of Jennifer Egan’s [b:Manhattan Beach|34467031|Manhattan Beach|Jennifer Egan|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1524162798l/34467031._SY75_.jpg|55587075], I suppose because of the World War II setting and popular appeal, which is a bit shallow really but Marra does namecheck Manhattan Beach in the acknowledgements as a book that kept him company as he wrote this. Perhaps it makes sense to think that those who like the one will probably like the other.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
lelandleslie | 28 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Give it 4.5 stars. This is wartime novel that deserves high regard.
 
Assinalado
ben_r47 | 182 outras críticas | Feb 22, 2024 |

Listas

Prémios

You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Estatísticas

Obras
6
Also by
7
Membros
3,750
Popularidade
#6,762
Avaliação
4.2
Críticas
292
ISBN
63
Línguas
8
Marcado como favorito
4

Tabelas & Gráficos