The Sparrow
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The Sparrow

4.17 (42,008 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Set in the 21st century - between 20 and 60 years from now - The Sparrow is the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and talented linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who - in response to a remarkable radio signal from the depths of space - leads a scientific mission to make first contact with an extraterrestrial culture. In the true tradition of Jesuit adventurers before him, Sandoz and his companions are prepared to endure isolation, suffering - even death - but nothing can prepare them for the civilisation they encounter, or for the tragic misunderstanding that brings the mission to a devastating end. Once considered a living saint, Sandoz returns alone to Earth horrifically maimed, both physically and spiritually, the mission's sole survivor - only to be blamed for the mission's failure and accused of heinous crimes. Written in clean, effortless prose and peopled with memorable, superbly-realised characters who never lose their humanity or humour, The Sparrow is a powerful, haunting fiction - a tragic but ultimately triumphant novel about the nature of faith, of love and what it means to be 'human'.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 30mm | 340.2g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • port.
  • 0552997773
  • 9780552997775
  • 95,563

Review quote

"'One of those rare books that takes you to its heart and refuses to let go'" -- Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers "'Compulsive reading and may be the year's best science fiction novel'" -- John Clute * Mail on Sunday * "'Brilliant first novel about the discovery of extraterrestrial life...Shades of Wells, Ursula Le Guin and Arthur C. Clarke, with just a dash of Edgar Rice Burroughs - and yet strikingly original'" * Kirkus Reviews * "'One of the years's most powerful and disturbing books'" * The Times * "'A parable about human life on Earth, with all its imperfections, failings, doubts, wisdom and erudition...The Sparrow is a startling, engrossing and moral work of fiction'" -- Colleen McCulloughshow more

About Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell is a former anatomist, has studied six languages, trained as a paleoanthropologist and is the author of scientific papers on subjects as various as bone biology and cannibalism. Her first novel, The Sparrow, won the 1996 James Tiptree Award, the 1998 BSFA Award and the 1998 Arthur C. Clarke Award and she has also won the Cleveland Arts Council Prize for Literature and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of Science Fiction. Her second novel, Children of God, is the sequel to The Sparrow. Mary Doria Russell lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband and their son.show more

Review Text

"'Brilliant first novel about the discovery of extraterrestrial life...Shades of Wells, Ursula Le Guin and Arthur C. Clarke, with just a dash of Edgar Rice Burroughs - and yet strikingly original'"show more

Back cover copy

'After the first exquisite songs were intercepted by radio telescope, UN diplomats debated long and hard whether and why human resources should be expended in an attempt to reach the world that would become known as Rakhat. In the Rome offices of the Society of Jesus, the questions were not whether or why but how soon the mission could be attempted and whom to send. The Jesuit scientists went to Rakhat to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God's other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the farthest frontiers of human exploration. They went for the greater glory of God. They meant no harm.' Taking you on an extraordinary journey to a distant planet and to the very centre of the human soul, Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow is an astonishing literary debut - a powerful, haunting and exciting novel about the nature of faith and what it means to be 'human'.show more

Rating details

42,008 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 47% (19,663)
4 33% (13,827)
3 13% (5,624)
2 5% (1,927)
1 2% (967)
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