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.
This report prepared by David Loftus