I did not enjoy this book but it was on our monthly read. I left out large chunks as the dialogue I found crude and meaningless.
This is what I drew from the storyline: Undeniable emotion felt by earthly group versus space group in that the draw of the music heard by the main character, Emilio Sandoz was so intense that he wanted to learn more of this planet and its people and to evangelize them. In the opposite sense, the aliens were drawn by the sense of scent to the earthly group. The author draws a paradox.
I disliked the crudeness of the dialogie. It did not bring out thoughts of peace only long drawn out dialogue. Especially the ending - terrible so much extreme passages.
Really disliked the Jesuit aspect I suppose it could be compared to the mission journeys to reach a lost people and to learn of their ways and reach them for god. But it went terribly wrong. There was a very dark side to the story and a total disregard for the sanctity of human life. A regime bent on its own purposes and ideals. A hierachy of power versus the weak and vulnerable. Sandoz was used to the very core and the stripping away of his very humanness until there was nothing left of use to go forward with - utterly hopeless and utterly lost.