Doria Russell, Mary
The first of two books about an ambitious Jesuit mission to the distant world of Rakhat in 2059. Father Emilio Sandoz returns to Earth forty years later with his faith completely shattered. Although the society they experience is alien, it is the human issues - faith, love and the role of God in human affairs - that drive the story. Arthur C Clarke Award, 1998. [Big read}
Comments from Groups
A great book and a number [of us] wish to read it again. Our favourite so far. Cromwell 004
None are normally sci-fi fans but all really enjoyed and/or got something out of it. Lots of discussion around population controls, spirituality, grief and space travel. We felt it was well written with endearing characters. It really draws you in. Nelson 049
Very mixed response - good discussion! Timaru 013
Book provoked strong feelings and polarised opinion. All agreed on the excellent characterisation. Excellent book for discussion with several members seeking the sequel. Palmerston North 025
Challenging read - most wanted to re-read after discussing as understanding of some parts differed amongst the group. A book for both genders. Christchurch 213
Loved it. Found some details a bit graphic and disturbing but still compelled to read to the end. Hamilton 031
A 'can't put down' read for everyone. The growing sense of horror and foreboding captured one. Nelson 019
Enjoyed - especially as most wouldn't read sci-fi usually. Loud discussion ! Whangarei 001
The discussion ranged from the book representing all the world's problems to themes of colonisation and love. Martinborough 001
This book led to one of the liveliest discussions we've had so far. So many topics to explore : God, relationships, the treatment of others and of animals, abuse and healing. We would definitely recommend this book to other groups. For some, who were hesitant because it was a 'sci-fi', the genre became obsolete as the story developed.
Some found it harder to get into, with a lot of background and scene setting. "Not a page turner". But others REALLY liked its 'world-building' and cultural exchanges. The sensitivity with which the author paints the human characters and their relationships is also a good point. Not for the faint-hearted, as the lead character undergoes brutality, and there is a pervasive 'sense of doom' because of the way the story is structured.
We had mixed reactions to this book. Some couldn't read it at all, and some found it took a long time to get into. We liked the characterisation but found the 2060 chapters took a long time to tell you anything. Everything happened in a rush at the end and was a bit of an anti climax. Several of the group are planning to read the sequel however.
The group loved this book, most of us not being sci-fi readers we were surprised by how much we enjoyed it. Some found the first part a little slow as the characters were introduced, but everyone was enthralled by the happenings on the new planet. A very lively discussion happened around the book and our thoughts on these sentient beings and their ideas of society. I know a few of us will be reading the next book to see what happens!
For the science fiction fans it was a treasured gift. For the non sci-fis, it was a conversion experience! Lively discussion.
Mixed reactions. Some found it hard to get into. Those who persevered loved it.
This is a book which drew us into the development of the characters and plot. For those of us who have seldom or never read science fiction, found the book surprised in depth. There was general enthusiasm to read the sequel, 'City of God'.
Initially we were all disconcerted, sci-fi not being a genre we would usually read. However, we were unanimous in our pleasure in the book. Exciting plot, great characters ( very believable) and an interesting mix of themes - all very interwoven. We all agreed we would read more from this author. Moving, enthralling and thought-provoking!
The majority of the group LOVED this book.
Excellent book. It had moments where it was very thought provoking and inspirational. Also times where it was distasteful, horrifying and incredibly sad. Some of the descriptive passages were absolutely compelling, and the spirituality as well as the humanity of the people involved came through.
A thoroughly great read!
We had a VERY loud discussion with everyone wanting to add their thoughts. We were split on our likes and dislikes, and it is definitely a controversial read. It is beautifully written.