His entry begins:
Most recently I read Anthony Marra’s stunning debut A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I first discovered Marra back when I subscribed to Narrative Magazine. They published his Pushcart Prize-winning short story “Chechnya.” I was profoundly moved by that short story. I have an older sister who moved out before we got a chance to really bond as siblings, and the delicate and fragile way Marra captures the dynamic between two sisters separated by circumstance was only enriched by the amazing education I received about Chechnya.About Little Beasts, from the publisher:
He continued that education of post-Soviet Russia with A Constellation. The dynamic between sisters, neighbors, father and son: it’s all there. Set against an unnerving backdrop of violence and uncertainty. The plot is somewhat streamlined, and that makes way for the characters to really fill out the panoramic view of the Chechen conflict, the struggle for survival, the way militancy and depravation can make little Judases out of...[read on]
Turnbull is a working-class town full of weary people who struggle to make ends meet. Evictions, alcoholism, and random violence are commonplace. In the heat of July 1983, when eight-year-olds James Illworth, Dallas Darwin, and Felix Cassidy leave their homes to play in the woods, they have to navigate between the potentially violent world of angry adults and even angrier teens. Little do they know that by the end of the summer, one of them will lay dead, after a bit of playful bullying from older teens escalates to tragedy.Visit Matthew McGevna's website.
Loosely based on a real crime that took place on Long Island in 1979, Little Beasts is a panorama of a poor, mostly white neighborhood surrounded by the affluent communities of the East End. After the murder, the novel’s main characters must come to grips with the aftermath, face down the decisions they’ve made, and reestablish their faith in the possibility of a better world.
Writers Read: Matthew McGevna.