2010 Book: The Sparrow
By Mary Doria Russell
A man returns to Earth—sole survivor of an interplanetary expedition—horribly disfigured and guarding a shocking secret. What happened to Emilio Sandoz on the planet Rakhat? What happened to the others that went with him? And why? This story is essentially about the destruction that can result when one culture steps into another culture, even with the best of intentions.
The plot centers on a Jesuit mission to another planet, but it is neither science fiction nor overly religious. Rather, it is a beautifully written novel that forces us to take a hard look at our society, its history and its values, and what it means to have faith in something.
Russell's PhD in anthropology helps her create worlds, species and societies that are believable and shocking; her talent as a writer helps her people the book with funny and intelligent characters. Much more than a fascinating tale of first contact, The Sparrow reaches beyond genre fiction into an examination of morality, belief and what it means to gain, question, or even to lose, one's faith.
About the Author
Mary Doria Russell has a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan. The Sparrow and its sequel, Children of God, have won eight regional, national and international awards. They have also been optioned for Hollywood movies starring Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt and they have inspired both a rock opera and a full-scale bel canto opera. Her latest novel is Dreamers of the Day.
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