A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

Assisted Dying - Sheila A.M. McLean These kinds of books are ones I usually pass by. They are difficult for me to follow and I often find myself to be somewhat uninterested after a certain point in the story.
This one was one of few exceptions.

The title of this book beautifully ties together the message Marra tried to get across in regards to people's connections with each other in their lives and about the consequences and future of actions and people.

The story is rich with enough information to keep the reader in the know but in decent doses that it doesn't come rushing out right away. Because of my own background and ability to speak Russian I didn't have any difficulty with the terms sprinkles across the book, though I'm not too sure if that would be the same case with other non-native speakers.

One thing I found rather unique and well executed in this book was the narration and the intertwining of the past, present, and future. The ending is especially beautiful in this aspect, the way that Marr chose to directly parallel the present day conversation of Sonja and Haava with their futures, giving specific intervals and saying how many years will pass until a certain event will occur with either of them. This happens throughout the whole book, especially with Khassan and the mentions of his manuscript as well as the struggles he endured in his life and dealing with his own son. The story line is something one needs to pay close attention to as all the characters are so closely related together it's somewhat easy to lose track or get confused, even for a second.

This book is an interesting and bittersweet coming-to-terms with life I'd say, something I felt I haven't found properly depicted in other books I've read. Of course this one had its flaws, probably the only ones simply being the bumps in the storyline in the parts where it dragged on and forced me to take breaks from the reading. Yet I don't regret picking this one up. I learned something more based on the historical context of this book, I challenged myself in reading a book from a genre I'm not too fond of, and I was introduced to a cast of characters that stuck with me until the end and I felt emotions and ties with and was sad to let go with the last turn of the page.

I'll be revisiting this book in a few years, for sure. It has much to offer and I feel a lot of it will be absorbed with time, age, and experience. I look forward to my future encounters with this one, and I'm glad I took a chance with it.