Quotes from Island of the World


I couldn’t put enough quotes in my review of Island of the World.  So here, with space to stretch and relax, are some I marked. I omitted longer sections and any spoilers.  All are from the pen of Michael O’Brien.

~  I’m giving away a copy of this book to one of my readers.  ~
Enter a comment here.

Language should be, he says, as fluid as love and as stable as marriage.

There are times when it is hard to resist the world that is so rapidly changing all around him.  It takes energy to resist, even if only within the privacy of his thoughts.

Life is strange. But God has the final word.

Life itself is the great surprise, and all that is within it is an unpacking of subsidiary wonders.

Europeans understand that flavor is not about sensory stimulation, it is about evocation. It is art and memory. It is reunion with exalted moments, and such moments are never solitary ones. In short, life without coffee is not really life.

The killers murder not only their immediate victims; they spread death into the souls of survivors.

Can you really see the future if you have not seen the past for what it was?

Can a dwelling place without books every truly be a home?

They like a bit of verse as emotional prompts on greeting cards or as page-filler in periodicals, but they do not dive deep. Perhaps they do not know the deep is there. The pace of modern life, television, subways, fast food–these all work against the sublime illuminating moment when the distance between utterance and reception is closed in an embrace.

They are enjoying the rather unusual experience of it all–the sensation of a time-tested and comfortable friendship that is only hours old.

It may be that he cannot always distinguish between his losses and blessings, and the release of tears reduces the pressure.

Truth is always embedded in beauty.

On Christmas morning, they awake to the sound of bells ringing throughout the city. This, doubtless, is illegal, but the government probably does not have the stamina to destroy Christmas utterly.

Is he alone? Yes, he is alone, and yet, not alone. Beyond all sorrows, he has the fire of Holy Communion with Christ, as well as friends and fishing and the central grace in his life–his mission to forgive.

We are born, we eat, and learn, and die.  We leave a tracery of messages in the lives of others, a little shifting of the soil, a stone moved from here to there, a word uttered, a song, a poem left behind. I was here, each of these declare. I was here.


6 thoughts on “Quotes from Island of the World

  1. I am very disappointed to learn that my public library owns none (repeat -none!) of O’Brien’s novels.   I will be submitting a request that this oversight be corrected.  Not only does Island of the World sound fascinating, but also his one about John Quincy Adams’ wife.  I may try that one first…. since it’s shorter

  2. @hiddenart – Dana, there are two Michael O’Brien authors out there! I think the Mrs. Adams book is by the *other* Michael O’Brien, though it does look interesting!  When searching, look for Michael D. O’Brien and you should be able to find his books. Hope this clears up the confusion!~Janie

  3. Thank you for the recent posts and book recommendations – not that I am short of reading at the moment šŸ™‚  Not sure when I will get to O’Brien, but he is now on my list.(Please do not put me in the draw.  To adapt the old joke, if you wanted to post stuff to here you would not post it from there… i.e. ‘here’ is not continental America.)

  4. On Christmas morning, they awake to the sound of bells ringing throughout the city. This, doubtless, is illegal, but the government probably does not have the stamina to destroy Christmas utterly.That’s pretty cool.

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