Mary Doria Russell
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The Sparrow is a novel about a remarkable man, a living saint, a life-long celibate and Jesuit priest, who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience--the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life--begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.
From the Hardcover edition.
Publishers Weekly Review
© 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.