Mary Doria Russell
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A visionary work that combines speculative fiction with deep philosophical inquiry, The Sparrow tells the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who leads a scientific mission entrusted with a profound task: to make first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. The mission begins in faith, hope, and beauty, but a series of small misunderstandings brings it to a catastrophic end.
Praise for The Sparrow
“A startling, engrossing, and moral work of fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. The Sparrow is one of them.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Powerful . . . The Sparrow tackles a difficult subject with grace and intelligence.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Provocative, challenging . . . recalls both Arthur C. Clarke and H. G. Wells, with a dash of Ray Bradbury for good measure.”—The Dallas Morning News
“[Mary Doria] Russell shows herself to be a skillful storyteller who subtly and expertly builds suspense.”—USA Today
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
This is, perhaps, the best book I have read. It is not only beautifully written and engaging, but thought provoking. This book, and its sequel "Children of God" are the only books I actually crave to re-read.
The story intertwines science, religion, humanity, linguistics, society, justice, love, joy, grief and pain with characters the reader cares about. Because this book covers such a broad spectrum of subjects, I've found it difficult to convey to my friends and family why they should spend the time to read this story. The description mentions extraterrestrial life, but it is not an illogical sci-fi story. It deals with solid issues using the backdrop of another civilization where the rules for life are different. The mixing of societies with widely varied social norms leads to the readers realization of amazing concepts and eagerness to devour the story.
I don't read that often and when I do it has to be great. This book was AWESOME!
Reading it more than once still gave the the same chills, smiles and tears. Don't think, just buy it.
100 Words or Less
There are many things to like about Russell’s novel.
It’s a realistic look at space exploration. It’s filled with clever ideas behind alien civilization. The way it builds suspense throughout the first half of the novel is really good.
However, the key words “first half of the novel” does not bode well. That’s because the deeper I got, the more the plot and characters lost their edge.
Oh, it’s a good novel. Well written, well thought out. It has some great moments. But a few missteps here and there unfortunately change a great novel into something that is merely good.