The Sparrow Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Sparrow

In 2060, the sole survivor of an 8-person expedition to Rakhat, a planet in the Alpha Centauri system, returns to Earth. The expedition was cosponsored and financed by the Jesuits, and the order tucks him away in a hospital and then a spiritual retreat. The press has a field day because Father Sandoz apparently was found in a brothel and he killed a little alien girl the day of his discovery on Rakhat. _The Sparrow_ travels between the questioning his superiors put him through, his early service in his native Puerto Rico (around 2014-15), and the expedition itself (circa 2039), which included three other priests, a young astronomer, a physician, her engineer husband, and a former child prostitute turned computer expert and pilot. The author, born a Catholic and converted to Judaism, and possessor of advanced degrees in cultural, social, and biological anthropology, brings her entire past and education to bear in this highly intelligent, witty, and deeply moving story about faith, doubt, and the fatal errors of ethnocentrism on a stellar scale.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Sparrow

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 23.3%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 26.7% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   exploring a wondrous planet or phenomena    -   generally friendly contact with alien(s)    -   stranded on alien planet, fighting aliens to survive Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Religious overtones?    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   religious figure Age:    -   40's-50's


Terrain    -   Jungle    -   Mountains    -   Forests A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   inhabited by friendly aliens    -   unfriendly aliens    -   primitive aliens    -   big overbuilt futuristic city Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a fair amount of scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   weird alien sex    -   major character becomes a sex slave How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian