Monday, August 24, 2009

The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell: a review by meloukhia [50BPT]

Today's entry comes from meloukhia! meloukhia writes on this ain't livin'

The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell

The science fiction section is often banished to a dark and dusty corner of the bookstore, and it is there that you will find The Sparrow, probably wedged between two mass paperbacks with lurid covers and improbable titles. The Sparrow is most certainly science fiction, but don't let that put you off: it is one of the most complex, thought-provoking, and influential books I've ever read.

Ostensibly about a culture class between the inhabitants of two planets, The Sparrow is also a somber commentary on society and the direction our society is heading it. It touches upon issues like religion, the need to care for the environment, sexuality, and structural inequality, all in a very well-crafted and gripping story. It is a book which can be read again and again for more depth and detail.

A bit triggery for reasons I won't go into for fear of spoiling the story, The Sparrow belongs on any thinking person's bookshelf.
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  1. I forgot to mention that she's actually a scientist and technical writer who just decided to try her hand at some fiction. This is amazing because, yay, women in science, and also yay, women trying new things midcareer even though they are scary. And because her science background definitely manifests in the book.

  2. Like Barbara Kingsolver! Or Julia Serano, though she doesn't write fiction. Awesome!

  3. The Sparrow is one of my all time favorite books--when I was reading it I would wake up worried about the characters and HAVE to read for a little while before going to sleep.

    I saw on imbd that Brad Pitt has secured the rights and wants to play Emilio. Le huge sigh.

  4. I read 80% of The Sparrow about 6-7 years ago and found the end of the story so heartbreaking I put it down and sadly didn't pick it up again.

    So I'm very happy to say that the Bookclub I organise in London England, The Science Fiction Bookclub, will be reading and discussing The Sparrow in October 2011. :)

    Any and all are welcome.


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