Now that everyone's had time to read it, it's time to talk about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell in detail. Did we like the book? Were the characters compelling? Did the end work for us? Was it an effective alegorical exploration of the Columbian contact with the Americas? And why are the answers to all these questions "no"?
This book featured a lot of graphic imagery, so be aware we have in-depth discussions of rape, torture, and isolation in this episode.
If you'd like to skip the discussion of the plot and jump right to our deeper discussion of the themes, then jump from about 15:05 to 52:40. We wanted folks who haven't read the book recently, or don't intend to read it, to be able to understand the plot and enjoy the rest of the episode, but not everyone will want a recounting of the novel they just read.
During the course of the novel we mentioned a few articles, videos, and books, including:
- Monolingual Fieldwork by Daniel Everett (a linguist learns Hmong)
- Do Elephants Have Souls? by Caitrin Keiper for the New Atlantis
- Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods by Elle Hunt
- The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
- 1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann
Next week we'll be discussing Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Star" (pdf) in the context of The Sparrow to compare and contrast them.