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The Island at the End of the World: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this unconvincing allegorical postapocalypto, Pa lives on an island with his three children, Alice, Finn and Daisy. They are survivors of a civilization-destroying flood; mom Mary wasn't so lucky—she died while trying to save one of her children. Into this setting washes up Will, a handsome young man who comes ashore and seems to know much about the family. Befriended by Finn, Will faces off with an increasingly hostile Pa, especially after Pa discovers that Alice has fallen in love with Will. As the novel progresses, flashbacks (largely via journal entries) detail life before the flood and the events leading up to the world's drowning; through these same entries, an incredible truth is hinted at, and it's Will presence that allows for its revelation. Unfortunately, though, the shocking surprise ending isn't very shocking, and Taylor's take on life after the apocalypse fails to persuade in either its allegorical implications or the day-to-day drama of its Swiss Family Robinson–style situation. (Sept.)
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Review

" Cunningly crafted. . . . The Island at the End of the World manages to combine rollercoaster storytelling with a deep mythic quality . . . It's a powerful mystery story, but also a carefully observed book about the underbelly of family life."
-The Observer (London)

"This is a stew of imagery and emotion, not a million miles away from the bleak richness of Cormac McCarthy. . . . Something powerful lurks at the heart of The Island at the End of the World."
-The Guardian (London)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143116258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116257
  • ASIN: B003156CI0
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,168,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Helen M. Foster on May 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This post-apocolytic novel of an authoritarian father and his maturing children living an improbable Swiss Family Robinson life on an island in a false ocean is beautifully crafted and thought-provoking as it explores the damage that can be inflicted when a parent is unwilling or unable to change.
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Format: Paperback
Pa is a religious nut with three children, all of whom live in the titular island at the end of the world. They are, we are told, the last survivors of a Noah-style flood. They survive by growing their own food, hunting for their meat and living in shelter they've built for themselves. But all is not well on this island. As the novel progresses, the children, especially the oldest, Alice, begin to rebel. They begin to ask questions. They begin to assert their will on their theocratic father. And the island, the last vestige of humanity, becomes less a paradise, and more a prison.
The novel features several voices that overlap in time, making for an interesting collage of narratives. One is the voices belongs to Finn, the animal-loving, pure of heart son. His curious mind is a beam of creativity in the midst of total isolation. The other voice is that of Pa, the religious fanatic, Old Testament loving, paranoid control freak. Many times the reader gets to see one event from Finn's point of view, then have that event enlightened with Pa's point of view. In the second half, Finn's narration is swapped for Alice's, the teenage daughter, adding further complexity and richness to the story.
The father writes beautifully and reflectively in a unique voice. He used to be a young hot shot in New York trying to "burn a new future for myself in the wonderful world of money." He has become religious after the world ended and starts to write in a kind of Old Testament prose, though, honestly, it is prettier than the Old Testament itself: "the sun became black and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
Pa tries to convince himself that his faith is based on what he has seen: the end of the world.
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By M. Karet on November 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. Think of a combination of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and Jonathan Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". Sam Taylor's character's are convincing and the plot is suspenseful -- a postapococalyptic view into a dysfunctional family.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have more patience than a 2 year-old, or the other reviewers, you'll love this book... a beautiful world and a captivating story.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the strangest books I have ever read. The back of the book and cover of the book were very intriguing and I couldn't wait to read it! The writing style is very unique. I would say in a bad way. It took me a few chapters to really get the hang of it. There isn't much punctuation and a lot of the sentences just stop with no end. The story itself is very weak. The idea was wasted by easily guessed plot twists and undeveloped characters. The book is made of two parts. The first part is boring and makes you wonder 'why am I still reading this?' the second part is a little more interesting and holds your attention, because you think something will happen. The actual ending I thought was okay. Not horrible. It seems like Sam Taylor wanted to make a point with this book. I didn't think it had a point. I wouldn't recommend this book.
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