Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Island of the World

The Island of the World, by Michael C. O'Brien, is an amazing book, more of an experience than a story. It had a plot, of course--a riveting one--but the author skillfully draws one in to the very moment of the main character's experience. The book spans this man’s whole lifetime, and you feel as if you’ve lived it along with him by the end of the book.

This story is set in Croatia, in the midst of Communist struggles for control of its government. Many unthinkable things happen to the main character, and it is hard to imagine how one person could suffer so much in one lifetime. But the story is primarily about how he responds to suffering and eventually comes to a simple peace-filled faith.

But this is no “and then he became a Christian and everything got better” kind of story. This is a story fraught with complications, difficult realities, horrible atrocities and unanswered questions. God, in this story, communicates not in Scripture verses and truisms, but in metaphor, poetry, mystery and ancient truths.

A difficult yet faith-building read.

"And here Christianity has its enormous advantage over every other religion in the world. It is the only religion that gives value to evil and suffering. It affirms… that perfection is attained through the active and positive effort to wrench a real good out of a real evil.”

~Dorothy Sayers, Letters to a Diminished Church (HT to Ann V. for the quote)


Rosa said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Jeanne! Croatia is a big part of my heritage; some of my extended family still lives there. I'll definitely check this one out! =)

Melinda said...

Please stop by Shore's End when you have time, for an important announcement! : )

DebD said...

This sounds very interesting. I need an uplifting book. Thanks for the review.

DebD said...

I just realized its Michael O'Brien. I've read his book "Father Elijah" and liked it *very* much.

magistramater said...

Fascinating! I haven't heard of this, but I am interested in Croatia. Your review and the blurbs I read on Amazon are enough to convince me to get this book. Thanks.