I was, well, a bit nervous. The Sparrow had such an amazing ending and, moreso, I didn’t know if I wanted to be back in that world to see what happened next. I was sure it would be more heartbreak than even the first.
I was right, of course, but I was also wrong.
Right, because there was heartbreak, and this time on a much wider, global scale. Whereas The Sparrow is the story of one man, Children of God becomes a story about an entire civilization and their trials.
Wrong, because all of the lingering sadness I felt after reading The Sparrow was resolved by reading this one. It didn’t tie up in a predictable, trite way, but rather through the natural course of events. Through this book, Russell gives us the conclusion and spiritual resolution that was missing from The Sparrow.
I don’t want to give too much away, seeing as I know a few people out there who have read the first book and not the sequel. Both are superb, but so different. Russell continues her play with time in this book and approaches the subjects of revolution and war with her characteristic attention to detail and layered writing.
In the novel, we come to know Emilio Sandoz even better. We see his joy and his quiet healing throughout the book. He’s an exquisite character and you come to love him even more for his flaws–the sad man ripped uncharacteristically out of time.
When you do read this book (and I highly recommend that you do), approach it with a glass of wine in hand–a rich Malbec that is almost brown in color it’s so dark. I particularly like Layer Cake’s Malbec from Argentina. It’s a deep mix of flavors, but is strongest in its warm earthiness.
I said in a recent Food Riot post that sometimes wine/book pairings need to hearken back to place. This one hearkens back to character. Could I imagine Sandoz drinking this wine? Perhaps. But I also imagine him in the same way as this wine–layered, strong, earthy.
Have you read Children of God? What is your favorite Malbec?