This afternoon I finished reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. This book took me a very long time to get through. While reading I moved and settled into my new home – big stuff! Because of that, I spent a lot of my spare time watching Gilmore Girls, Nurse Jackie, and The 100 instead of reading – oops. However, it was nice to take my time with a book. I read a chapter at a time and did no rush-reading at all.
The book takes place in the future and has a science fiction element to it. The story surrounds a group of people who travel to Rakhat, a newly discovered planet. Only one person from the trip returns to Earth, so the Jesuit leaders who commissioned the trip are trying to sort out what happened, and why he is the only one to return. However, our lone survivor is not in great shape (physically, mentally, or emotionally), so this takes some time. The novel jumps between the present – with the Jesuit leadership trying to sort out what happened and interviewing the survivor, and flashbacks to preparing for, travelling to, and the time on Rakhat. The story is interesting, exciting, and sad all at once.
The characters in the book are all travelling to Rakhat with differing backgrounds – they are linguists, doctors, and priests. Because of the varied interests of the characters, the reader gets a holistic understanding of Rakhat. This was a great way to keep the reader engaged and provide a detailed description of what life looks like on a new planet, and how it is impacted when another species moves in.
Overall, I liked this book. I think that reading it slowly allowed me to enjoy it more. When I was trying to read it quickly I found myself disengaged and my mind wandering. But, when I would pick it up for a chapter at a time I was able to focus and really picture what was happening. I would recommend!