My Reflection Of The Book 'Island of the World'
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Politics and Activism

My Reflection Of The Book 'Island of the World'

Island of the World changed me from an early age, and it has continued to challenge me.

My Reflection Of The Book 'Island of the World'
Zach Miles

The concept of time has always been something that has fascinated me -- how it ebbs and flows seamlessly as lessons are learned and hairs gray throughout this thing we like to call life. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about time -- where I thought I would be at this time in my life, how chiseled I expected myself to be by this time... and how, currently, I am not. I can track this fascination with time back to a specific place:

"Island of the World"

I was handed this 800-page book called "Island of the World" written by Michael D. O’Brian a few years ago and, naturally, after I felt the tremendous weight of the book, I set it on my desk. I set it there under the impression that you only read books like that when you’re old and gray and have no choice but to sit and read an 800-page book. This is not any sort of book review because I truly believe that the best book reviews are those done by yourself, in the process of actually reading the book. However, this book was the causation for a deep soul review for me.

The Plot…er, let’s talk about Josip:

The setting is in an occupied Croatia at the end of WWII when civil unrest was at a breaking point between different military groups who were trying to form a government. The main protagonist is a boy by the name of Josip Lasta. Josip is a boy who fearlessly runs into ocean waves, much to his father’s disdain, for the sheer pleasure and the sensation of being overtaken by the force of natur and that would soon become his hiding place. He’s a boy, on whose fingertips would alight Lastavice, a friend (a swallow) that would be a symbol of his struggle and a source of pain from his past. He’s a boy who can’t comprehend the idea of death until death in all of its utter disparity crashes into his life. Josip is a peculiar character. He reads the Odyssey with his family before bed and as he gazes out into the sea, he doesn’t just see the seemingly endless blue of Adriatic Sea, but he sees Odysseus and his Argonauts fending off their vessel from Sea monsters. In Island of the World, you see his poetical perspective on the world grow and flourish under an endless amount of oppression -- a type of struggle and pain that would break most men, but you’ll just have to see for yourself what comes of our friend Josip.

This book caused me to consider the unknown and unseen way that words can riddle our soul with emotions. It took this fictional character of Josip Lasta, and it made him real to me. I felt like I knew how Josip felt, and if we had a conversation, he would have related back. It takes a very special book to cause a deep reflection of one’s self, but this book managed to just that for me.

Someone I was talking to recently mentioned how we must be careful how much we share our treasures with those who might mistake those treasures for mere trinkets. Obviously, this is my own recollection of what was said, but this is the gist of the matter. We all have things we hold near and dear to our persons, whether it’s something that was fundamental in our growth or helped us stay afloat through a hardship. Island of the World is something that is very special to me and it sparked many thoughts I had never thought to think. I’m currently reading through it again, and it’s quite something to come back to a book you’ve read before that means so much. I’m bringing the life experiences into the book that have happened since I last read it -- life experiences that caused me to experience this book in a different light.

"Too much time spent considering time leaves you with very little time to do anything of much use."

Remember when I talked about time? I encourage you to pick up this book and allow Josip’s fictional, but fulfilled, life fill you. It might take you some time to chug through the book, but there are only a few other books I would say are more worth your time than this one. In Island of the World, you see Josip’s life woven in front of you, from his meager beginnings to his end and you see time be his greatest ally and adversary. I hope you read this book, so you can allow a deep reflection to take place within your being. I hope even more, though, that through this book you can see time not as just objective in hours, minutes and seconds but as thousands of opportunities to love and live a life that squeezes true value out of your days on this earth.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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