A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
How much do you know about Chechnya? And the wars, and the occupation and the exiles? If you are like me, probably not very much.
And sometimes not knowing very much about something leads us to shy away from it. It might be too much work for our lowly brains.
But I want to stop using that as an excuse,
“I don’t know anything about money, so how can I make a budget?”
“I can’t shut down my brain, so how can I learn to mediate?”
Just because things are challenging does not mean that they are not worth it.
And I believe this book is worth it.
It is challenging,
and full of anguish.
But it exists. These people in some form exist.
All of these things exist in real life, and this story is based on true conflicts.
And it makes me grateful everyday to be born in Canada.
But what is anything besides a random constellation of anguish and joy?
This is the story of many characters intersecting and coming to find each other. We start with Havaa, an eight-year-old girl who watches Russian soldiers burn her house and take her father. The only people left now are her neighours, Akhmed and Khassan. Akhmed wants to keep her safe, so he takes her to the hospital, the safest place, he, a failed doctor can think of. Here we meet Sonja, the sole surgeon remaining, and her haunted thoughts about her missing sister, Natasha. All of the characters come together and interweave so beautifully, so randomly,as such is life.
I found at beginning of the book I was having trouble getting into it, but then after about a hundred pages, I fell and I fell hard. You began to really love the characters and want to know how they all got to the situations they are in. The book is like a beautiful, mysterious heartbreaking puzzle, that you just can’t wait to find out how all the pieces get together.
This book is told in a very interesting perspective, jumping from the past, to the present to the very far future. I liked this about it, it shows what happens to the characters far down the line and that makes for an interesting telling, certainty, no unanswered questions.
It gives hope in a hopeless world, even if sometimes the world you live in seems to contain no hope.