One of my favorite things about Michael O’Brien’s novels is that they are like journeys. You, as the privileged reader, get to embark on a journey of self discovery alongside Mr. O’Brien’s main character. Island of the World is no different. I found myself so emotionally attached to this story that I had to set it aside on occasion while I dried my watery eyes, yet its more than eight hundred pages seemed to go by so quickly. Michael O'Brien does not disappoint in this moving story that will remain with you long after you have finished reading it.
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.
Next to Father Elijah (and perhaps tied), Island of the World is my favorite book by Michael O’Brien. I highly recommend it, especially to fans of Michael O’Brien as well as those who have yet to experience the journey of a Michael O'Brien novel.