Sadly, it’s Sunday night. For some reason I had it in my head that it was Saturday..I think because yesterday was full of “work,” even if fun work, and not lounging around trying to recuperate and gather strength for the coming week like most weekends are anymore. But the weekend is, officially, over.
First up, I finally finished The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It. Was. Amazing. So many great questions brought up. So many great things to think about. Such a great story for itself, which totally and completely sucked me in.
The book is science fiction, about a Jesuit mission trip to a planet recently discovered to have intelligent life. The story is told in two parts simultaneously; the story of the events leading up to the mission and the mission itself, and the story of the one remaining member of the trip who has made it back to earth. The author alternates between these two times, both progressing linearly with respect to their start dates. We have an idea of the outcome, from the condition of Emilio, the survivor, but we don’t know much more than that about what happened. Through watching the mission unfold and listening to Emilio’s report (told painfully over months), we begin to piece together what happened, and learn how the happy group of eight who leaves earth of one viewpoint could turn into the broken single man who returned in the other. The story is fascinating, the characterization is great, and you are pulled in both by feeling for the people and events and by trying to figure out the puzzle of what happened. I was breathlessly, painfully involved until the final pages, when it all comes clear, and even then left with questions to ponder, the sign of a good book in my mind. Matters of faith are brought up, along with questions about society, poverty, religion and science.
Near the end, there is this discussion on faith, which I love (no plot spoilers involved, though it is from the end of the book):
“There’s an old Jewish story that says in the beginning God was everywhere and everything, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist. So He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, there creation exists.”
“So God just leaves?” John asked, angry where Emilio had been desolate. “Abandons creation? You’re on your own, apes. Good luck!”
“No. He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering.”
“Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine,” Vincenzo Giuliani said quietly. “‘Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'”
“But the sparrow still falls,” Felipe said.
I love this exchange. If there is a God, this is how I believe he interacts. Not by reaching in, by observing. It is how I felt when I was religious, and now that I’m more ambiguous this is still the only way things make sense to me.
I don’t mean to give the impression that this book is all philosophical questions. It is mainly plot, the two stories developing and coming together, and gripping at that. But because of my own faith journey, some of the conversations on faith stood out to me. The questions raised are mostly done indirectly, I tend to look for them and ponder them, but they come up through things happening which makes the reader question why, or if, these things are wrong or right. Entertainment Weekly said it well,
Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. The Sparrow is one of them.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely highly recommend it to anyone. It may not seem this way from the books I’ve remembered to review thus far, but I do not say this often. It is a great story that will challenge you, and you will be glad you read it.
OK, that review was a wee bit long..but..I really liked the book :P
Tomorrow back to work. I’m thinking of giving notice at the end of this week. Possibly the beginning of next. I’m not sure. A bit nervous. Going to need to buckle down and work hard to get this project good and wrapped up, so I can leave. But now that the decision is made…I feel so much peace about it. A kind of cautious excitement…I can see a light at the end of the tunnel..but I’m afraid if I look at it directly it will go away. So I’m approaching it sideways, shuffling with small steps, and hopefully, soon, I’ll emerge out into its warmth and find some healing.
I can’t wait.
In other news, I’ve finally decided on a phone. None of the ones I talked about previously. Today the hubby and I went out and looked at other carrier’s phones, and I fell in love with one of them.
Finally, a phone I have no reservations about! It is small, barely bigger than my current dumb-phone (is that what you call a non-smart-phone?), the same thickness and height and just a bit wider. It has a full qwerty keyboard that I got used to very quickly as a played with it. The screen is big and gorgeous, very responsive (unlike the Tilt2) and very functional. You can multitask apps, and move between them easily. It is fast. Really fast. And the interface is extremely intuitive for me. Unlike all the other phones I looked at, the more I play with and look into this phone, the more I fall in love with it. With others, as I looked deeper/played more, I found more and more to dislike. This one, not so much.
It’s not available on AT&T. Yet. Maybe. Probably.
It’s supposedly definitely going to maybe be available on AT&T in some form which is probably just as good more or less on the exact approximate date of May 10 more than likely. So the hubby can keep his iPhone, I’ll be waiting til then to get my new phone.
Swearing at my dumb-phone as it slowly falls apart in my hands.
On the upside, I haven’t even noticed time passing the past 5 months or so, I can’t remember anything that happened in that time (good thing I now blog so I can look back and remember some). I mean, honestly, what happened to February? Did that month happen? And I think we had like a day of January. So hopefully, while finishing up at my job, trying to keep Companions running, and trying to find a new job(s) for May, I will continue to be so stressed I do not notice April, either!
And then my shiny, functional new phone can be a leaving-my-job celebratory present.
’cause, you know, leaving my job is a good reason to spend lots of $$.