Flashback Friday REWIND: The Sparrow

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

I’ll be traveling for a few weeks during the month of June, so rather than skipping Flashback Friday,  I thought I’d dig back into my FF archives and revisit some of my very first flashback books.

My premiere Flashback Friday post focused on  one of my all-time favorite books, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:


The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
(published 1996)


From Amazon:

In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being “human.” When the lone survivor of the expedition, Emilio Sandoz, returns to Earth in 2059, he will try to explain what went wrong… Words like “provocative” and “compelling” will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.

I can’t overstate just how very much I love this book. It has it all: compelling characters, a science fiction slant, discovery of new worlds, fascinating interpersonal dynamics, and a confounding mystery at its core.

Lead character Emilio is so magnetic, so fascinating, and so wounded that I wanted to jump into the story to protect and defend him. Author Mary Doria Russell, an anthropologist by training, creates a world unto itself, with culture, mores, and languages that are unique and yet fully formed.

Whenever I’m asked to name my favorite books, The Sparrow is right there in the top 5. Over the years, I’ve given copies to friends and family members, and I’ve recommended it to dozens more. If you’ve never read The Sparrow, give it a try! You’ll thank me for it — I promise.

For the next two weeks, I’ll feature other “rewind” Flashback Friday posts. Stay tuned!

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday REWIND: The Sparrow

Comments... We love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s