The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It feels like it took me forever to get through this book for a number of reasons (including misplacing my paperback for several weeks) but I have to say that by the end, I was BLOWN AWAY by this book, its message, and how much it gave me to think about.
The dual narrative helped keep the pacing moving effectively. The reading is dense but not slow. There is just so much packed into each chapter that it takes awhile for the reader to absorb it. Also, there are so many characters and narratives needing introduction and elaboration that it took time for Mary Doria Russell to really prepare the reader for what was to come. In retrospect, she did it so effectively that I can't believe how much she really packed in without ever making me feel bored or irritated. Amazing!
This books strength lies in the philosophical exploration that it takes you on emotionally and spiritually. This is a thoughtful book that makes you look at the world and your inner feelings in new ways. The book is so beautifully layered with nuances that come together so seamlessly as the novel concludes. I'm really in awe of how effectively Mary Doria Russell told this story without going overboard on the philosophy. The story is beautifully told, brutally felt and enormously impactful to the reader.
This is a novel that you need to read and experience for yourself, it would be impossible for me to effectively describe how wonderful this novel is ... it's one that you have to explore for yourself.
I also want to mention that this is in no way what I'd characterize as a Christian book - not that there is anything wrong with Christian books. But, I want to be sure to point out that it is more of a spiritual book that explores issues of faith, religion and humanity. But, it is in no way preachy or heavy handed.
I recommend this one for EVERY one. Take the time to savor it, give it time ... it takes awhile to really get engaged in the story but it is so worth it. It won't be long until you're staying up half the night to read 'just one more chapter.' Off to purchase the sequel which I am also hearing wonderful things about ...
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