Book: The Sparrow
Author: Mary Doria Russell
Genre: Science Fiction/Paranormal Fiction
Rating: Five out of five stars
It is 2019, and humanity has picked up a signal on the SETI array. No – it isn’t the start of Contact by Carl Sagan (another excellent book) – but its original premise is similar. After the initial premise, the two stories diverge widely.
The Society for Jesus (a Jesuit organization) secretly organizes a scientific mission to explore the source of the contact, a distant planet called Rhakat. On Rhakat, all members of the expedition die except for one – Father Emelio Sandoz – a priest who often struggles with his own faith.
Sandoz returns to Earth disfigured, severely traumatized and an outcast in his faith-based community.
The book has been out for quite a while (it was originally published in 1997), but it is a book worth seeking out. The story explores deep questions of faith, the nature of God and the nature of the very universe in which we live.
If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few books that stuck with me years after reading it (usually I forget all about books within minutes of finishing the book). It remains on my book shelf, calling out to me to read it again.