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The Sparrow (1996)

por Mary Doria Russell

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The Sparrow (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
6,7563641,057 (4.16)1 / 962
The Sparrow is a novel about a remarkable man, a living saint, a life-long celibate and Jesuit priest, who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience--the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life--begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, multiplexer, Masumi23, chakmool, midwifejen, LibroLindsay, rchall78, JaeReads, The_Literary_Jedi
Bibliotecas LegadasTim Spalding
  1. 130
    Children of God por Mary Doria Russell (mrstreme)
  2. 122
    A Canticle for Leibowitz por Walter M. Miller Jr. (prezzey)
    prezzey: Both are good solid science fiction novels featuring Roman Catholic monks.
  3. 71
    Speaker for the Dead por Orson Scott Card (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also about first contact with an alien civilization that humans cannot understand.
  4. 72
    A Case of Conscience por James Blish (kevinashley)
    kevinashley: Both of these books deal with the combined issues of first contact with aliens and religion, through the involvement of priests. Both leave open questions, and both are well-written.
  5. 30
    Eifelheim por Michael Flynn (aulsmith, vwinsloe)
    aulsmith: Another Catholic priest deals with aliens
    vwinsloe: Religion/first contact
  6. 30
    The Book of Strange New Things por Michel Faber (GCPLreader)
  7. 21
    The Time Machine por H. G. Wells (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
    Tanya-dogearedcopy: First Contact sections of both novels are remarkably similar
  8. 21
    Under the Skin por Michel Faber (Utilizador anónimo)
  9. 10
    Anathem por Neal Stephenson (quartzite)
    quartzite: Both books deal with key groups of people preparing to meet alien cultures with a bit of theology and philosophy thrown in.
  10. 11
    The Keys of the Kingdom por A. J. Cronin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Missionary priests deal with abuse, spiritual questioning and alien cultures
  11. 11
    Eden por Stanisław Lem (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: A much better book on the uncertainties, misapprehensions, and danger of first contact.
  12. 33
    The Dazzle of Day por Molly Gloss (Rivercrest, vwinsloe)
    Rivercrest: Dazzle of Day explores the trials of community living and community choices in the same context as Sparrow; space flight, alien landscapes and religous exploration. It also has the same deft use of language, visual descriptions and charecter development. And though I love Sparrow and go back to it time and again, I like how the author ends Dazzle of Day better. Enjoy.… (mais)
  13. 22
    Archangel por Sharon Shinn (espertus)
  14. 01
    The Faded Sun Trilogy por C. J. Cherryh (kaydern)
    kaydern: A book equally interested alien anthropology, but with more emphasis on military and sociology of alien-human interaction.
  15. 01
    Black Robe por Brian Moore (amanda4242)
  16. 12
    Hyperion por Dan Simmons (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: Both juxtapose religion and science fiction. Hyperion is also [IMHO] a significantly better book.
  17. 01
    Wulfsyarn por Phillip Mann (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both feature an unusual mix of alien contact and religion
  18. 01
    Daniel Stein, Interpreter por Ludmila Ulitskaya (spiphany)
    spiphany: A central theme of both books is the examination of faith, both within and outside of organized religion
  19. 01
    Bright of the Sky por Kay Kenyon (Utilizador anónimo)
  20. 02
    The Foundation Trilogy por Isaac Asimov (johnxlibris)

(ver todas as 21 recomendações)

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I’m culturally Catholic, I love sci-fi, and I have a PhD in medieval religious history, so I can assert that I was a well-suited candidate to read this book. It looked like it would fill the perfect intersection of all the stuff I love… which might have set my expectations too high.
I’m of two minds about this book.

On the one hand, I admire its lofty ambitions. It deals with first contact, theology, space travel, and such. Its double structure, with the past and the present intertwined, is compelling. The experience of reading is imbued with this sense of tragedy and irony because you DO have a sense of what happened, but not exactly HOW it happened. When I reached the 150 page-mark, I really couldn’t stop myself from reading the book even though my eyes were aching.

You can tell that the author was trained as an anthropologist. The glimpses into Runa and Jana’ata societies were really interesting. I was riveted whenever the story was told through the point of view of Supaari. The little details inserted here and there (like how he was offended that Sandoz would try to offer him gifts directly, or how he described Askama as being ugly as white water) gave off this sense of a different culture. The evolutionary imprint on social structures also made a lot of sense (ie how an intelligent predatory species would have evolved alongside an intelligent herd, herbivore one). I would have kept on reading more and more about Rakhat. (I’d add that the stuff about the Church rang very true. The Catholic Church can be depicted in all sorts of silly ways that take themselves seriously. Mary Doria Russell has clearly done her research AND spent time in that world.)

On the other hand, there were many things that didn’t work for me. I’m ready to suspend disbelief when reading fiction, but I did find it a stretch that a team of friends would be privately sent to a newly-discovered planet without the notice of the international community. Sure, Elon Musk is trying to send people on Mars. Sure, the resources of the Catholic Church – material and intellectual – cannot be underestimated. Still, it was all a little too neat and easy for me.

I’ve read reviews which pointed out that the book lacks imagination as it mostly references twentieth-century culture. It’s true that, reading the book in 2021, some things didn’t age as well (including the description of what is probably just sending an email), and it was hard to see the difference between future 2019 and 2060. For me, what lacked imagination – probably a testimony of the time we live in and my own sensitivities – was the composition of the group. There’s a lot of Iranian and Chinese engineers out there. Catholicism is surviving these days because of communities out in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It was strange to me that the characters in the novel – aside from the aliens – were mostly from “Western” countries.

Ultimately, I think that whether or not some people will like it will come down to the core of the book: the spiritual struggle of Fr. Emilio Sandoz. What meaning will readers draw from his narrative, his suffering, his long crawl back to confession, acceptance, and redemption? Will they be moved? Will they be left indifferent? I didn't buy the whole thing myself. Perhaps I was biased because I read the interview with the author at the end? In any case, I found that the obsession with sex, clerical celibacy, whether or not people would do it/fall in love, having kids, and the disgrace which Emilio Sandoz endured, reflected the kind of feelings a former Catholic would try to work out.

The author mentioned in her interview that she wrote The Sparrow partly as a response to the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ travels to the Americas. I’m not sure that this was the author’s purpose, but I felt a little vindicated that the Stella Maris’ crew – even though they were lovely people with lovely intentions – had to reckon with the fact that you can’t expect to be a stranger in a strange land without wreaking some havoc and losing much in the process.

All in all, a worthy read, but not a book I'd recommend to everyone. You really have to care about questions such as God's hand in our lives to grapple with it. ( )
2 vote lochinb | Jun 3, 2021 |
Jesuits on the mission field, except with modern, reasonable and thoughtful Jesuits, aliens and another planet. The author weaves past and present timelines together seamlessly, and keeps anticipation strong throughout.

Interstellar travel happened with little fanfare and a small amount of handwaving, but the means of transport was peripheral to the story in any case.

I like this book a lot. Well written, strong characters, and a skillfully developed plot. ( )
  jercox | Jun 2, 2021 |
I think this book is very well written but I can't imagine recommending it to anyone. It has a negative emotional weight that is impressive but unpleasant. The author was able to make me feel for and care about the characters, establishing a firm grip on my emotions, before wrenching them sideways. The book's subject (protagonist doesn't seem like the right word) is introduced as the lone survivor of an awful attempt at first contact with an alien planet, but unraveling the aftermath takes a lot of care and effort.The story runs in two parallel tracks, one devoted to exploring the person of the shattered man, who at first defies explanation or understanding. The title of the book is a scriptural allusion, quoted late in the book, when the full scope of the tragedy has been revealed. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
A novel that goes beyond its genre. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
I know I am among the minority here, but I did not like this book much. I loved the premises of it, but I think it was poorly written: for a sci-fi book, its science can make anyone with a very basic understanding of math and science cry out in desperation.

Then, for a philosophical book on God and religion, it did not offer much more than the ethics of celibacy. Oh, so the alien children came to Emilio as if to Jesus in the bible… Well, I was constantly told about Emilio’s transcendence and connection with the divine, yet I never “saw” it. And I don’t want to say that I didn’t sympathize with Emilio’s pain and rage at “God”, but again I never really sympathized with Emilio, the man/character.

The final failure of this book is the one sided examination of the encounter between these two alien cultures. Yes, it is about cultural misunderstandings and the tragic consequences of it. But cultural differences are not as black and white as this.

This one is going into the list of books that Coulda and Shoulda had been good. Too bad it didn't deliver.
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 363 (seguinte | mostrar todos)

» Adicionar outros autores (4 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Russell, Mary Doriaautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
diBondone, GiottoArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Viernne, BéatriceTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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For Maura E. Kirby
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On December 7, 2059, Emilio Sandoz was released from the isolation ward of Salvator Mundi Hospital in the middle of the night and transported in a bread van to the Jesuit Residence at Number 5 Borgo Santo Spirito, a few minutes' walk across St. Peter's Square from the Vatican.
 --  Chapter 1
It was predictable, in hindsight.
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I don't understand, but I can learn if you will teach me.
"There are no beggars on Rakhat. There is no unemployment. There is no overcrowding. No starvation. No environmental degradation. There is no genetic disease. The elderly do not suffer decline. Those with terminal illness do not linger. They pay a terrible price for this system, but we too pay, Felipe, and the coin we use is the suffering of children. How many kids starved to death this afternoon, while we sat here? Just because their corpses aren't eaten doesn't make our species any more moral!"
"...Because if I was led by God to love God, step by step, as it seemed, if I accept that the beauty and the rapture were real and true, then the rest of it was God's will too, and that, gentlemen, is cause for bitterness. But if I am simply a deluded ape who took a lot of old folktales far too seriously, then I brought all this on myself and my companions and the whole business becomes farcical, doesn't it. The problem with atheism, I find, under these circumstances," he continued with academic exactitude, each word etched on the air with acid, "is that I have no one to despise but myself. If however, I choose to believe that God is vicious, then at least I have the solace of hating God."
"'Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'" "But the sparrow still falls," Felipe said.
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The Sparrow is a novel about a remarkable man, a living saint, a life-long celibate and Jesuit priest, who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience--the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life--begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

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