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The Sparrow: discussion questions

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Getting to this book has been a challenge!  I meant to go through it slowly but I’ve actually been enjoying it a lot, so even though it took me a few days to read, that has no bearing on my experience.  Heather at Age 30+ Books has provided a few questions for us to answer.  Unfortunately my answers are not very detailed; my mental energy isn’t doing a fantastic job recovering from working all day.

1. For first time readers, how does your reading so far match up to what you expected from this book?

I think it’s pretty consistent.  I expected a science fiction novel with deep characterization, and that’s pretty much what I got.  It’s an intriguing combination and I like it a lot.

2. This book is set in a not-so-distant future in which the balance of world power has shifted from the United States to Japan. Poverty, indentured servitude, ghettos, and “future brokers” are common. Based on this projected future, would you classify this novel as dystopian? Do you think this future is a real possibility based on where the world is today?

I’m not sure about the dystopian question.  It didn’t feel like one, there wasn’t really a very effective governmental overlord and with the exception of Sofia, how much were the characters repressed?  They spoke their minds and went on a secret space mission, after all.  Ghettos, poverty, and slavery still exist in our world, too.  I do think the future progression is a real possibility, but no one can ever predict the way things will go, as you can tell just from erroneous predictions over the years.

3. From the beginning of the book we know that Something Bad happened during the mission but it takes until almost the end of the book for the reader to get the whole story. Do you think the author built the suspense to the perfect pitch or do you feel that she drew it out too long?

I think it was built to a perfect pitch.  I wanted to know what happened but I also wanted to fall in love with these people.  I loved spending time with them and knowing about the inevitable bad ending, I wanted it to last as long as it could.  The suspense was definitely built up, but it wasn’t a race to the finish this time.

4. If you’ve gotten to the end, was the final truth one you expected or were you taken by surprise?

I was not really surprised by the nature of the final truth, but I hadn’t guessed the details.  It was certainly effective and emotional.

I plan to review this book in the near future, so hopefully I’ll be better able to express my full feelings then.  I just wanted to answer a few of the questions to show I’m still around for the group read!  I hope around the time that it finishes I’ll have the internet at home again and be able to read more responses.

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