The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell
The Sparrow Cover

The Sparrow


I don't have much to say about this book, except that I found the author to be opportunistic, self-congratulatory, cynical, and deeply antagonistic to everything I hold good and dear. Reading interviews with Mrs. Russell has done nothing but more deeply impress those initial reactions to the novel. Apostates are usually the least insightful commentators on their discarded religion, and Russell is no exception to that rule. I am not sure she is even a competent commentator on her new religion.

The big twist ending was hardly a shocker to me, as it reminded me vividly of a minor subplot of Babylon 5, of all things; also because the carnage was so mild compared to what we humans have inflicted upon ourselves over the last century or two, that I could not understand why the characters found it surprising. We do worse to each other in major American cities. If her characters had been even moderately less offensive and annoying, I might have cared when they met their dooms.

Mostly, I'm just glad that I'm done with the novel. Russell's preachiness blended with the gruesome reveal has left me in a state of mind to warn everyone I meet away from her novels.