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Island of the World Hardcover – November 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 850 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586172166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586172169
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In Michael O'Brien's new novel we feel the mystery and theology palpitating on every page without ever feeling that the deeper meaning is obstructing the momentum of the plot. The genius of O'Brien is that he does not wear his theological heart on his sleeve but lets its pulse provide the unobtrusive rhythm to which the story dances. This is storytelling at its most sublime" -- -Joseph Pearce Author, Literary Converts.

"It is difficult to know where to turn for noble enough analogies in speaking of this book. Michael O'Brien has achieved both a seriousness and a delicacy, that is not to be taken lightly. I wonder whether we are going to find Mr. O'Brien's name taking its place along with those of Mauriac and Bernanos before too long?" -- -Thomas Howard Author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets

"Michael O'Brien has done it again. Penetrating, incisive, lyrical and startlingly clear and crisp, this is a novel that obliges readers to think, think and think again. Unlike so many of his literary contemporaries, the author has something to say that is not only new but is intensely important. Every writer, teacher, thinker and politician should be obliged to read Michael O'Brien. If they did so, the world would be a far better place." -- -Michael Coren Author, C. S Lewis: The Man Who Created Narnia

"There is a kind of historical novel that may appear less a work of conventional fiction than an acute recollection of intimate personal stories, gathered secretly and then, in contemplative solitude, softly woven together with prophetic insight. When such a weave is spun on the right writerly loom, underthreaded with prayer of a mystical intensity, something far more deeply discerning than typical historical fiction can result. Island of the World offers a rich but unsettling fabric, the lovely and the terrible together, evoking not only the social tragedy and horribly tested piety of 20thC Croatia, but the fragile beauty of holiness in a time of adversity anywhere." -- -David Lyle Jeffrey Author, People of the Book

"You will not want to put this book down until you finish it, and you will continue to live in it even after you close its covers. This story will change you. It will make you a wiser, better person. Is there any greater, rarer success we can hope for in a mere book than that?" -- - Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Boston College Author, The Philosophy of Tolkien

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Customer Reviews

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Michael D. O'Brien does it again!
song bird
I have read quite a few "great books" in the western tradition.
Linda Lulling
This book will truly change your life.
Nathan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By S. M. Norris on January 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michael D. O'Brien is truly a gifted writer. During the last several weeks that I spent reading this phenomonal book I felt like I was in the skin of the main character, Josip Lasta. I have rarely, if ever, been so emotionally involved in reading and had to keep telling myself, "it's only a book". I shed so many tears I had to put the book away for a time and told myself to "forgadbout it" (an expression of one of his many characters in the book).

Mr. O'Brien's descriptions of the agony and the rising of Josip Lasta are unparalleld in any book I've ever read and shows profound insight into the inner workings of his character's mind, body and spirit. This book deserves to be #1 on every bestseller list. I intend to gift several friends with a copy and to tell all the readers I know to read it.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure what to expect from this large novel, but I didn't expect something that made me look at my own life a little closer.

O'Brien does a perfect job drawing the reader into the life of his characters. I found myself identifying with Josip Lasta even though we have very little in common. Throughout the entire novel, I couldn't wait to find out what happens to Josip next. I had to keep reading to find out if he finally achieves and keeps happiness.

The tales of life under a series of totalitarian regimes made me feel grateful for my freedoms, and reminded me to be more active in preserving them. Josip's grappling with faith was inspiring, and caused me to ponder my own spirituality at length. I tried--as best I could from a novel--to learn from how Josip interacted with the people in his life. All of it put together left me thinking, and wishing I could go right back into the book and recapture the joy of first discovery.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy thought provoking, deep stories where the true meaning may take a bit of consideration to unearth.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By FD on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent! Should become a classic. I have read all of his other novels and they are also excellent. He is the greatest novelist and storyteller of our times and Josip Lasta (the main character)is an example of moral courage and character in overcoming life's trials. Should be assigned reading for all high school students.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By K. Thom on August 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Island of the World is so much more than a wonderful
read. It is life-changing. The story of the earthly journey
of the soul of Croatian Josip Lasta is so beautiful that
there were times I wept.

There is nothing more I can add to indicate the profound
power of this book. Read it.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By George Thatcher on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The remote, edenic Coatian village of Rajska Polja, translated, "the field of heaven," is the initial setting of a magnificent story, beginning in 1933, of one human's suffering through a violently cruel century, concluding in today's world. Beautifully written, the epic (839 pages) is the latest of six earlier books by an author who cares for his characters, experiencing their trials. It is, in a way, a modern morality play brimful of allegorical drama and poetic words, a book the reader will long remember.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Webster, award-winning author VINE VOICE on January 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Island of the World is a spiritual Odyssey unlike any I've ever read before. It follows the life of Josip Lasta--from a happy child in the Croatian village called "fields of heaven" through the crushing juggernaut of Nazi and Communist regimes. The size of the book at over 800 pages was at first intimidating; but once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Just as a beautiful symphony expands the boundaries and hinterlands of sound, Michael O'Brien carefully crafts the story of a soul, a man, and a people. You think what Josip thinks and feel what he feels as you experience with him his own private crucifixion. Island of the World is a masterpiece of spiritual and human exploration. "MUST" reading.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Khoury on July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know that I have ever read a novel where I felt I was "standing on holy ground." With this one I did. Even though I would tell myself - "it is just a novel" inside I knew it was not, that Josip Lasta, though a fictional character, is real, that I must have met him and not even known it, and I would hope that I will be able to recognize him now that I have read his story.

Because underneath this story of Josip Lasta is the story of all the holy unknown quiet lives that are lived out courageously, stubbornly, lovingly, humbly. Living out the Gospel, lives woven together in the communion of the saints. Heaven and earth intermingling. Everything matters. All is a tapestry. Weak and strong taking turns being weak and strong. It is such lives that are celebrated in the Catholic and Orthodox churches on All Saints Days.

Read this book -you will reverence your own life and the lives around you more. You'll be more likely to see a bit of a holy glow about situations and people. You will feel the boundary between heaven and earth slip away. You will be more determined to run a good course yourself and to be a loving presence to those in this "island of the world" with whom your life is meant to intermingle.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paige Reeder on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only recently discovered this incredible author after he was interviewed on EWTN. Since then, I've purchased most of his books. This is the 5th book I've read by Michael D. O'Brien and the caliber of his writing continues to exceed any other fiction author I've ever read. This 800-plus page book surrounds the reader in a different time and place, beginning around the 1930's, vividly portraying the time, place and life of a Croatian child into adulthood. The levels of suffering, torture and death suffered by Josip, his family and many of the Croatian/Yugoslavian peoples is impossible to comprehend when one has never lived under a Communist/Iron Curtain regime. Through Mr. O'Brien's writing, one is immersed in every moment and thought of Josip's life and life-threatening challenges, witnessing firsthand Josip's courage, inner strength and spirit. I have recommended O'Brien's books to others and without hesitation I highly recommend the "Island of the World" as a superior novel and effort which cannot disappoint. For those who are dedicated readers of all of Mr. O'Brien's books, I believe this is one of his best, saying this tongue-in-cheek as it seems impossible to rate perfection by contrasting degrees.
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