Books | Fiction / Literary
Mary Doria Russell
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
Mary Doria Russell
Random House Publishing Group
Community ReviewsSee all
"Rarely have I read a book that, even as I read it, inspired such a desire to read more. It captivated me from our very first moments together. It transported me as few books have in my adult life.<br/><br/>USA Today said the author "shows herself to be a skillful storyteller who subtly and expertly builds suspense." I am convinced it is Mary Doria Russell's gift: Suspense. Not the sordid, cheap kind, nor the frustrating and uncomfortable kind, not even the contrived cliffhanger-cheat kind, but the real deal. The truly intriguing. A genuine story.<br/><br/>I stumbled across a few of Russell's critics while I still read. I began to dread the ending. <br/><br/>But they were wrong. They missed it. Perhaps they were too hardened by our own despotism to appreciate the subtleties, or they were too desensitized by movie explosions to grasp the complexities and their commentary on humanity, religion, and culture.<br/><br/>That being said, it was not without its weaknesses. There was occasional sidestepping or even plain avoidance of what sci fi writers and readers would otherwise revere. There was this spot in the middle that seemed a bit of a let-down, an anti-climax. But it was momentary; the apparent transgression was folded in like a foil to the narrative. The reveal is not the reveal. And the story may not be about what you might think.<br/><br/>I cannot say anything more without giving too much away, but upon reflection, my favorite part of the book is its ironies. I highly recommend it. <br/><br/>Audience rating is Mature, more for context than content, with trigger warnings for references of and to domestic violence, child abuse, gang violence, murder, slavery, prostitution, and rape, with no graphic descriptions of any save a careful narrative dealing with the last three."
"This is disturbing book, but one that I will never forget."
"great characters that you really get attached too and the story keeps you turning the pages finding it hard to put down."
""He felt sometimes like the seedhead of a dandelion, flying apart, blown to pieces in a puff of air." (Russell 238). Mary Doria Russell does a fantastic job melding science fiction with the painful depths of a spiritual journey story. Following a Jesuit mission to an alien planet, The Sparrow is equally sci-fi thriller and religious self-discovery. Admittedly, it took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but the story was compelling from the beginning, and I eventually came to app"