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What a wonderful gift to reading and literature this book is. Published WAY back in 1996, I’m not sure how everyone of my reading buddies hasn’t heard of this book by now.

I heard about this book first from the fantabulous Rebecca Schinsky via the BookRiot podcast. She raved about it, which immediately made me want to read it, because let’s face it, if Schinsky likes it – it has to be good. But then, when I came across it at my local indie bookstore, the handwritten recommendation from the book store staffer raved about it using almost exactly the same words (AND SO MUCH MORE). So I was sold, book was purchased, love was had.

On its face – this is a book about a bunch of friends – scientists and a Jesuit priest – discover life on another planet and then venture, under the purview and finance of the Jesuits, to this planet to make contact with this alien race.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking – seriously?

But wait! It’s really about SO MUCH MORE than that. This is book about God, about faith, about understanding faith, about losing faith – from many different points of view religious, skeptical and even secular (imagine!). This book is about purpose, and mankind, and morality, and good intentions, and misunderstandings, and cultural diversity, and destiny. It’s about the vulgarity of intelligent life. It’s about living beings as a cog in a wheel of economic and social structure.

This book is really about BIG topics. Wonderfully written, totally inspiring, want-to-get-lost-in-it-for-days fantastic. I took a longer time than I needed to for completing this book. I simply did not want to finish it. Well, wait. Yes, I wanted to finish it – but I didn’t want it to be over. This is the type of book, these are the types of characters and ideas, that sit with you for a long time. If you are looking for a really exquisite piece of literary fiction, this is it – get it now.