Thoughts The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell, Brilliance Audio 1996, 15 hrs 24 min
Narrated by David Colacci.
There are books that get recommended to you that you squint funny at the person and say,
“Really? You really think this sounds like a book I would like?”
So, you write it in down on a scrap of paper, or add to your tbr in goodreads, or just file it away mentally til that day it somehow finds its way into your hands, on your Kindle, or due to be picked up from the Library On-Hold shelf.
I am pretty sure that it was Jimmi who told me about this book. She seemed surprised I hadn’t heard of it. (Heck, I’m usually mildly surprised that I have never heard of a book when someone recommends such to me.)
It’s about a Jesuit — read “Catholic”, if you’re not Catholic. It’s probably more than that but hey, I’m not Catholic — mission to outerspace. Outer Space?
OK. Still with me?
I actually like science fiction books but I am not drawn to the genre. I might be if it is funny or hailed as super dooper classic that goes beyond genre. Or? I’m not sure. I mean, I haven’t even been able to read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yet which means I can’t yet be considered a SciFi fan even if I can claim to have read Neuromancer and Snow Crash. (I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One, too. Woo hoo!)
So this very interesting amazing group of people somehow get to meet and become friends and then be in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME and things fall right in line for them all to take a 17 year (earth years) trip to a planet that has been found to have SINGING. (see: “intelligent life”)
The coincidences cannot be just coincidences; they must have been arranged by God.
What makes this book so excellent and compelling is that you read that above paragraphs and IT. WORKS. Sure, coincidence or God. WHO CARES?! The story, people! It’s the story telling and the character building and the WOW!! You just have to keep reading. Or listening, in my case. The narration is excellent. My only complaint on that is I usually listen at 1.25x speed and this sounded awful when read faster than ‘normal’ and so I had to listen just like it was read. Silly, minor, extremely minor complaint.
I am now recommending this book to many people. Maybe not to Rhonda but I am recommending to Marsha. Pretty sure that Holly would love it, and probably Gail, too. MBR said she loved it. AB wouldn’t go for it but she reads a particularly spicy genre.
This book was just so GOOD. It’s about faith. Faith in yourself, love, reality, purpose, whatever. Faith.
I am giving it 4.5 slices of pie. It might show 5 stars in goodreads, I can’t decide. Most of my goodreads friends gave it 5 stars – that in itself is amazing.
You want me to tell you more? So this Jesuit mission happens to take off for a visit to the planet that has singing. The members of the mission meet a primitive culture and settle in and learn and seem to really be making progress but of course, there must be more advanced cultures otherwise, how could the singing have been broadcast so that Earth could intercept the signals? Well, if I told you that, I would have to give the spoiler symbol.
One member of the mission party makes it back to Earth. He is given time to heal from this ordeal but eventually there must be a reckoning. He must TELL WHAT HAPPENED.
The story begins with him and then goes back and forth between how everyone meets and the trip gets approved and arranged and unfolds. The heartbreaking conclusion is the final pieces of how the mission failed.
OH! I think it will stay with me a long time. I do love when a story is suggested, and when I’m not quite sold, but I go with it anyway and then I get swept away.
Take the risk and experience The Sparrow.
PS. This happens to be the first in a duo, I think. Not a trilogy, am I right? The Sparrow is quite capable of being considered a stand-alone book and not one that requires anything more. (not like The Knife of Never Letting Go. UGH.) SO then for all of you who have read the second book that MDR wrote (Children of God)… should I?
The Goodreads description of the sequel says this, “… in Children of God, Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.”
I’m more inclinded to read Doc, actually. I do hope I have found another favorite author to explore.
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