What I knew about Chechnya could have fit inside of a teacup. "Oh yea, that place where there's been a lot of trouble. It's in Russia, right?" I have a much better grasp of the events there after reading this book. Marra explains the past of this country in an accessible and moving way.The story here isn't as much about politics and wars as it is about what happens to the people and their relationships because of such hardships. Marra focuses on the humans caught in these events. How do they continue to carve out a life in a war-torn country? How do they survive the fear? What sacrifices will they make to continue to feel like humans at all? This is an incredible story about a young girl and the man who decides to take care of her when she is left alone in the world. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is powerful, emotional, and incredibly compelling. This novel is not to be missed. You'll be thinking of it long after you've read the last page.