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July 25, 2014

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Review by Abi

By Anthony Marra

Havaa focused on her fingernails. She wanted to speak but didn't, wanted to flee but couldn't.~Quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
The quote above pretty much sums up the way I feel about this book. I wanted to flee after the every chapter. I wanted to like the book, wished to give it rave reviews, wanted to find a reason to go on reading.
The only reason I continued was hope. Hope it would redeem itself. Hope I would connect to the characters. I lost hope halfway through. It was like watching a movie then wondering why I stayed to the end. I don't understand why this book is on the bestseller list. I've never given this low of a rating. Ever. However, I received this book in exchange for an honest review. And honest you will get.

Now, the book has great prose, wonderful metaphors and intensive research. That is the positive aspects of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.
Unfortunately, the book head-hopped constantly, causing me to pull out of the story, scavenge through pages to figure out what point of view the author switched to. Again. There were no scene breaks, no warning at all that the reader needed to hop into yet another character's point of view. Omniscient point of view or not, this is no excuse to bounce around like an out of control super ball. The non-linear timeline throughout the book is just as jolting.
I would've put this book down by the third chapter had I not agreed to write a review. So, I plodded through.
There were parts that were so unbelievable that I laughed out loud. For example: A blind man guards a door, a deaf child as his assistant. The deaf child pulls on the blind man's finger to signal when to let people in to see an underworld criminal.
The blurb is misleading. I wanted to read this book because of Haava, who, if one were to believe the blurb, is the main character. The first chapter introduced Haava, and then the character was forgotten. She disappeared for chapters on end.
On a positive note—and it's hard to find a positive—the author slaved through this book. He did his research. For that I give him credit.
I'm very disappointed. The only things I enjoyed about A Constellation of Vital Phenomena were the first chapter and reaching the last page, drawing a breath of relief that I was done. Finally.
I can't recommend this book. I will avoid reading books by this author in the future.

    Publisher: Hogarth
    Page count: 418
    Purchase link: Amazon
Book Rating:

On the same page?
No doubt.

Disclosure of Material Connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Blogging for Books has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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