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The Sparrow
The Sparrow
Author: Mary Doria Russell
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 horr...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780679451501
ISBN-10: 0679451501
Pages: 408
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 16 ratings
Publisher: Villard
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 14
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Sparrow on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
This was an unsettling book. You know within the first several chapters that something very bad has happened but you don't know what or why or how. I found myself speed-reading trying to find out, and even worse, I felt anxious! I really enjoyed it though. The plot is interesting and unusual and the ending causes you to examine your spiritual beliefs very carefully. Without being preachy, the author presents her belief that although there is an all-powerful God out there, He is under no obligation to protect and preserve those who love Him. I'm now looking for the sequel to this, called Children of God. I can't wait to read it!
reviewed The Sparrow on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I finished this book the other night and am still a bit baffled by it. The character development and first half of the book was so slow and drawn out, a few times I wondered if I should give up (I have only done this once in my life) on it. The 2nd half of the story seemed very rushed to me. So much ground seemed to be glazed over in a dash to the ending. I didn't care for the writers style, not enough "flow" for me but the story is definately different. All in all, an interesting read but not sure I'll be picking up any more books by this author.
reviewed The Sparrow on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book is amazing. The basic plot is that in 2019 we detect radio signals from a nearby system. The Jesuits decide to mount a private expedition. In 2060, one survivor returns. The question is then: what happened? The author manages to interweave two narratives - the past and the present - seamlessly. She builds suspense, dropping tiny hints about what happened, slowly revealing the horror they experienced. Along the way we must deal with heavy philosophical problems: what is God's will? What is our purpose? How do we deal with an entirely alien civilization? What if our actions have unforeseeable consequences?
reviewed The Sparrow on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
You'll either hate this book, or love it.

I hated it.

If you like books with action, stay away from it. If you like books where characters with plenty of angst sit around discussing things ENDLESSLY, get it.
reviewed The Sparrow on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Creepy but really good, very well-written.
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reviewed The Sparrow on + 1152 more book reviews
This was a truly memorable book, one that surprised, challenged, and intrigued me.  Despite being about a space-faring civilization in the future (nominally this is science fiction), it had the feel of a much older story, and was profoundly human.  The  oft-used tropes of the tormented soul and the conflict between science and religion felt fresh, and I became more deeply involved in the story than I thought possible.  In part that was due to the characterization of Sandoz, the protagonist, whose bitterness and anger, hope and despair, compassion and rage and dark humor made him so compelling. This book, its plot, prose, and characterization, was about as good as it gets.  I'm hesitant to read the sequel only because I don't want to spoil what I've just read.  I'd recommend this one highly.

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