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According to an interview on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, Russell was trained as a biological anthropologist, making the race encountered on her fictional planet of Rakhat especially realistic. Interestingly, she was raised Catholic, became an agnostic, and then decided to raise her children in the Jewish tradition. She's done a lot of thinking about faith as well as science. This blend makes her background for writing fiction unique and her work fascinating to people of all different persuasions.

I recommend The Sparrow highly to anyone who would like to try science fiction but is afraid they won't like it. You will love this book, and you'll want to read the sequel!

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