NEW [The Sparrow]
Mary Doria Russell ☆ 1 CHARACTERSIf called upon to imagine a scenario in which the aith of the devoutly religious is put most severely to the test I would probably think of the Jews in the Nazi death camps What they experienced and witnessed is almost like science Die Nornenknigin fiction in the unimaginable scope of its horror Mary Doria Russell chooses the genre of scienceiction to dramatize one human being s dark night of the soul and it s certainly the most imaginative account of a spiritual crisis I ve ever read The Sparrow is about a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat We learn early on that only one member of the crew survives and returns to Earth This is Emilio who is mutilated and traumatised The narrative alternates between the voyage and life on Rakhat and the Vatican interrogation of the surviving crew member A lot of the success of this novel is due to the ingenious structure which cleverly builds tension and the big vivid and vibrant characters I especially warmed to the two women the earth mother Anne and the damaged ice ueen Sofia Sexual politics plays a big part in the novel s subplot Sex is depicted as both a pinnacle of rewarded The Missing Formula faith in life s beauty and wonder and the most base inhumane means of cruelty At times The Sparrow walks a tightrope over an abyss of absurdity but every time I thought the narrative mightall off it regained its balance The most dangerous moment was when the author opts to take us inside the head of an alien Earlier she had made The Honey Bears Christmas Surprise fun of Star Trek and how the aliens always speak English I wasn t entirely convinced taking us inside the head of an alien wasn t a similar kind of act of hubris nor was I convinced we needed this small part of the novel Otherwise though I was gripped throughout Thanks to Candior her ravishing review What is a life worth living and what is a life wasted and why What is worth dying Nostromo A Tale Of The Seaboard for what is worth livingor and why What shall I teach my child to value and what shall I urge that child to avoid and why What am I owed by others and what do I owe others and why Each human culture provides a different set of answers to those uestions but deity is nearly always embedded in the Why The above uote is A Hundred Years Of Japanese Film A Concise History from Mary Doria Russell in her Afterword of this brilliant novel I think they sum up perfectly the very same uestions that Iound myself grappling with while reading this Russell certainly won t give you any answers to these uestions but she will give you plenty of intellectual Sometime Daughter foodor thought I admit to lying awake many nights in the past pondering the uestions of the universe but of late I knew the answers would not come so I set aside such contemplation Russell managed to reawaken such reflections I won t get into the details of the plot just suffice to say that on the surface The Sparrow is about a Cold Streets first contact made with another planet It appears to be a scienceiction novel therefore non lovers of the genre may mistakenly steer away rom this However this is so much than the introduction to an alien species Sure we #Have The Opportunity To Meet These But #the opportunity to meet these but reality it isn t all that different rom making contact with another culture albeit one that is completely unfamiliar to us More than a physical journey the characters in this novel are on a spiritual journey The character development is superb Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit priest but wait don t run away uite yet He is someone that you will not be able to get out of your head once you see not be able to get out of your head once you see soul bared to you in all of its most human components The way the novel is structured we are taken back and orth in time Bridge Of Souls from post mission to the preparationor the mission as well as to the mission itself We know rom the outset that Emilio Sandoz is tormented and my heart broke or him What could possibly have happened to this man that has turned him into such a tortured human being Aside rom Emilio Sandoz there are a number of other characters that are a pleasure to get to know Perhaps my two avorites were Anne and George in their sixties and happily married Anne doesn t buy into the whole idea of a God but that doesn t stop her Soldango from sustaining a valuable and closeriendship with Emilio The two are sounding boards Curious Tales Of Old West Yorkshire for each other s beliefs and doubts and their conversations are priceless Anne is very spirited and her thoughts on marriage are another source of wisdomor any reader that is so inclined to glean a bit thought about this institution as well At one point she says People change Cultures change Empires rise and all Shit Geology changes Every ten years Empires rise and all Shit Geology changes Every ten years so George and I have Linha D Gua Entre Estaleiros E Homens Do Mar faced theact that we have changed and we ve had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people Anyone with a spouse can likely relate to this I know it certainly made me consider my own relationship I could carry on about this Special Education The Way Ahead for uite some time but I don t think I can really do the book justice There is a lot to ponder here My mind is beginning to spin into those dizzying heights that leave meeeling rather breathless and inarticulate Much like the The Smartest Bear And His Brother Oliver feeling I get when my son drags me onto some of those terrifying yet thrilling rollercoaster rides that he is wildor All I can say is that you don t have to be a religious person to read this book You don t have to be a science iction devotee But if you have ever stopped to consider what is out there that is bigger than yourself and what role we as humans play in this univers. The Sparrow is a novel about a remarkable man a living saint a life long celibate and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience. .
E then you might want to give some serious thought To Reading This Book For reading this book For part I am not done with Father Emilio Sandoz s journey and will continue on with Children of God the seuel to this one We need not choose one kind of majesty orsaking all others I ve hit page 199 of The Sparrow and the viscosity of the text is increasingBy page 12 I had a lot of hope or this book By page 88 I was really into the book and thinking there was a good chance this was a 4 or 5 star book At this point though I m not sure I can summon enough conviction Up To Finish ItRussell Takes to inish itRussell takes gamble with her story of telling it The Origins Of The Gospel Traditions from the beginning and end toward the middle and relies extremely heavily onoreshadowing It s high risk techniue with a big payoff and while it is somewhat
EFFECTIVE AT FIRST IN GENERATING INTEREST IN THE STORYat irst in generating interest in the story about 130 pages of oreshadowing gloom and horror it gets really tiring It s like taking a bad page Fashion The Collection Of The Kyoto Costume Institute A History From The 18th To The 20th Century from some of the worst of Kurt Vonnegut s literary tics only where Vonnegut comes off as pretentious or even pandering Russell is coming off as being a bit of an amateur Even worse making theirst third of your story Forbidden The Awakening foreshadowing with nothing happening is I think promising a payoff that is so large that I don t see at this point how she can deliver a sufficiently big twist or epiphany to justify itThere are a lot of things to like about this book its witty intelligent dialogue its ambition and its uality prose But the chief merit of the book soar is the sensitivity to human culture that Mary Doria Russell brings to her work Her skill and knowledge as an anthropologist shows and in particular she envisions the social St Barnabas Hospice A History fabric of the world of 2016 in a way that is believable and seems to be almost prescient The same easy believability cannot be saidor almost any other aspect of her work Her characters are all little than caricatures with the sort of exaggerated easily identifiable physical Mary Plain S Whodunit features that you d expect of characters in a comic book or role playing game The physicist is 6 6 and scarecrow thin The mathematician is a petite and impossibly beautiful ex prostitute The pilot is impossibly ugly and speaks such an exaggerated Texan slang that the portrayal is embarrassingly close to racism The main character Emilio is a roguishly charming and impossibly handsome Jesuit priest He s essentially an agnostic that wants to believe who hubristically seizes on the mission to another world as a way to reconcile his own lack ofaith in his God His chief sounding board and seemingly the author s chief voice is Anne a 64 year old silver haired but still sprightly sexual doctor and hostess who is always ready with wit and wine Both characters seem to be someone s Flickering Pixels How Technology Shapes Your Faith fantasy rather than real people and tellingly Anne s husband George is the least well drawn and least independent of the central characters I minding it increasingly difficult to suspend my disbelief While I can easily believe the social developments that appear to have happened by 2016 it s simply ludicrous to believe that by 2016 we will have sufficient in space infrastructure and technical process that a private organization will be able to mount an interstellar mission It seems highly unlikely that a technological civilization would be Military Considerations In City Planning Fortifications found orbiting our nearest neighbor It seems even unlikely that news of the discovery of said alien civilization would create only a small and passing sensation in the press or that any of the major world governments would simply allow such a singularly important event as contact with an alien species to be unregulated I mean I would think contact with a new sentient species would be perceived as a matter of the utmost delicacy given that the potential extinction of either species is on the line should matters go wrong But as Russell would have it the discovery of mankind sirst extraterrestrial neighbor generates somewhat less interest than the Y2K bugEually bad it seems impossible to me that supposedly excellent scientists would A Time To Sing fail to develop contact protocols and would arrive at a distant planet inhabited by a sentient species with no clear idea what they intend to do This last one isor me the near mortal blow to the story Not only are no contact protocols developed and no plans made and no experiments scheduled and no egos bruised Lucy Carmichael fighting over whose theoretical models should be attemptedirst but upon reaching the planet the team takes essentially no environmental precautions and stupidly starts sampling everything that looks remotely edible This uite unsurprisingly leads to the death of one of the crew This is a severe problem because we ve been Mad About The Boy foreshadowing a tragedy the whole time and the author somewhat unsuccessfully has been trying to make the characters very sympathetic congenial and witty so that this tragedy will produce some sort of big emotional payoff when its elements areinally revealed In what amounts to the prologue chapter Russell voices what appears to be something of a thesis statement Through the thoughts of one of her most sympathetic characters she writes The mission he thought probably ailed because of a series of logical reasonable carefully considered decisions each of which seemed like a good idea at the timeBut at this point I ve not been seeing a lot of logical reasonable carefully considered decisions I m seeing characters behaving like such complete buffoons that the. So harrowing and profound that it makes him uestion the existence of God This experience the irst contact between human being.
Mary Doria Russell