The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was jaw-droppingly-stunning. It's been recommended to me for years. I should have picked it up sooner.
As I listened to this audio book (I'm a frequent audio listener and this narrator was among the very best I've ever heard) I thought to myself that this story would be heavily edited if published in today's market--neatly pared down--and while that may be true to a small degree, by the time I reached the climax of the story I knew that every tidbit of information had been there for a reason, building to that moment. Each essential nugget of information informed the apex and the denouement.
Emilio Sandoz, a Roman Catholic Priest in the order of the Society of Jesus, is a modern Job, tested to the brink of insanity. Except that Emilio isn't complacent. He questions a God that could fill him with such a feeling of spiritual grace and then push him to his limits and beyond. This isn't a spoiler, by the way. It's very clear from the beginning of the book that something terrible has happened to him.
This book was plotted by a literary genius. This book has weight. It will change you. Because the reveal at the end is so shatteringly unexpected...Russell has created a biological system and alien culture that are so plausible and yet so different from our own as to be casually inconceivable.
This story will linger with you. I believe it to be a modern classic.
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Jennifer Foehner Wells
I'm an author of the Space Opera variety.
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