A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
An incredibly accomplished debut novel by 28-year-old Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a story of compassion, ambiguous morals, and at times unfathomable optimism in war-torn Chechnya. The main plot spans five days in 2004, opening with Russian forces abducting a man in a small village and setting his house on fire as his eight-year-old daughter Havaa hides outside in the snow. Ahmed, an incompetent doctor but talented portraitist who lives across the street, decides to hide Havaa at a hospital in a nearby town, where the stern Sonja is the only remaining doctor. The plot frequently flashes back to the nineties and extends throughout a decade of Chechen conflicts to connect these characters, their families, and their neighbors in devastating and utterly unexpected ways.
How can you “do something new for the sake of mankind”? – Web Chat with National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year
Earlier this month, National Geographic announced its list of nominees for Adventurer of the Year 2014. The list, which aims to highlight “achievements in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism,” includes the typical spread of extreme athletes–skiers, climbers, alpinists–as well as Diana Nyad, the 64 year-old woman who swam from Florida to Cuba, and extreme solo walker and author, Sarah Marquis, who has logged thousands of days as an independent traveler. In this Google Hangout, Nat Geo Adventure editor Mary Anne Potts, sits down (virtually) with five of the thirteen adventurers to get their take on the meaning of adventure and relay crowdsourced questions from readers all over the world.
We were excited to find out that 2013 marked asignificant increase in the number of new books in translation published in the U.S. Specifically, 517 never-before translated books were published in the past year, compared to 456 published over the course of 2012. In keeping with this encouraging trend, we’re committed to not only helping that number grow more and more in the next few years, but also to diversifying the list of countries whose literature is made available to American readers.