The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
5th Jul 2013
I have just finished reading The Sparrow, a novel by Mary Doria Russell. The Sparrow is a beautiful, haunting and desperately sad tale. Nominally science-fiction - in that it concerns first contact with an alien race - but really a take of people, love, loss, sacrifice, faith and theology. A Jesuit mission to another world and the pain and suffering that follows.
I know this is a book that's going to stay with me for some time. I feel terribly sad having read it, it's affected me more than anything I've read for a while, but I'm glad of reading something that I found so powerful.
The Sparrow reminded me of some of Arthur C Clarke's best work. Books such as The Songs of Distant Earth, Childhood's End or The Fountains of Paradise - works again that are placed in the science fiction genre but really are stories of melancholy, loss and love denied. I'm not at all surprised The Sparrow won the Clarke prize, it certainly deserved it.
I'm about to read the follow-up, with no little trepidation.