Karen from book group chose A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra as her book choice for our September 2017 discussion. I tried to read it, but it didn’t appeal to me. While I understood the writing was beautiful, I couldn’t get past the violence. It was set in Chechnya during the first and second Chechen wars and really terrible things happened during that time.
Determined to read it, I picked it up again about a year later. I started over and didn’t get much farther than I got the first time, but this time I didn’t just understand that it was beautifully written, but saw that it was.
Not too long ago I was again determined to finish it. It sat there in my Kindle and Audible libraries looking at me with contempt because I’d abandoned it twice. This time I didn’t start over, but picked up where I left off. I alternately read and listened to it, finding it easy to switch between formats. I was surprised that I remembered what I’d read in the past and only a few times had to look back to remember who a character was. I finished it this evening and said aloud to no one, “what a beautiful and terribly sad book that was.”
The book Karen (again!) has chosen for her book discussion next month is Have You Seen Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I borrowed it from Amazon Prime Reading as soon as my tears stopped after finishing A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I loved it right away.