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Island of the World Hardcover – November 15, 2007
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"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
About the Author
Michael D. O'Brien, iconographer, painter, and writer, is the popular author of many best-selling novels including Father Elijah, The Father's Tale, Eclipse of the Sun, Sophia House, Theophilos, and Island of the World. His novels have been translated into twelve languages and widely reviewed in both secular and religious media in North America and Europe.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Island of the World is fit to be called not only one of the great Catholic novels, but perhaps the greatest novel so far of the third millennium. It is a Catholic novel in the most profound sense, in which the values of the world are overturned by the values of Christ. The story of Josip Lasta grows out of the horrific political upheavals that took place in Croatia during and after the Second World War, but also out of man's inhumanity to man, revealed in both the inhuman brutality of the tyrant and the sadist, and the petty brutality of the weak and envious. The suffering of Josip and those around him is almost unbearable to read. This is one of the great tragedies, easily rivalling the tragedies of Lear and Hamlet. But the peculiar greatness of this novel is the way in which Josip is transformed by the healing touch of Christ, so that his tragedy is transformed into triumph.
Unfortunately The Island of the World is far from being flawless. There are also mysterious passages which are never really explained. The writing, which is frequently sublime, falls on occasions to the banal, and the book would have been better if some sections were cut out. Nevertheless, a novel should be judged primarily on its strengths, and this is a creation of true greatness.
Josip's tragedy becomes his victory. One of the tragedies of our time is that while millions will flock to the latest superficial best-sellers, so few will read this masterpiece.
Josip Lasta is a very believable and moving character and 'Island of the World' traces his journey of self discovery through his childhood during World War II into contemporary times. Josip’s story is a story fraught with hard times and lots of suffering—and here, I advise the more sensitive reader that there are some mature scenes depicting the violence of war (done tactfully by Mr. O’Brien). But more importantly, this story is about the triumph of the human spirit in even some of the most deplorable circumstances of human life. Josip is confronted over and over again by the sorrows that life (and fallen human nature) can bring: war, death, betrayal, etc., yet he marches on and encounters persons who change his life and demonstrate to him the existence and power of virtue, especially love.