Monday, June 16, 2008
Island of the World
I finally finished my next novel, Island of the World by Michael O'Brien. This 800+ page book was captivating and heart wrenching. I can honestly say that I have never read such a painful story and I don't even remember the last time I broke down into sobs like I did during this book.
O'Brien is a great writer and seems to specialize in stories revolving around different aspects of World War II and how that war effected different people across the world, people we might forget. He is a very Catholic writer and demonstrates that Jews were not the only people suffering during this war.
This book in particular is about Croatia/Yugoslavia. This country is the collision place for Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and Muslim religions and thus the place of constant turmoil and war. The story begins with the Italians occupying the land and later the Germans but during all of this there are waring "homeland" groups that are robbing, torturing and killing their own people. The main character is only a boy when this is happening in a small village in the mountains. His life is drastically changed and only by the providence of God does he make it through these trials. Time after time he is rescued by strangers and divine encounters and often is he pained by the realization of another world lost to him.
Don't read this book without lots of time and tissue.
I am pretty sure the story is based on true stories of the people in Croatia but I'm not sure exactly. I do know that I have no idea how any human could invent such pain with out having heard about it or lived it himself.
This book has really reminded me that in America there are so many things we are blind to because our media picks and chooses what they want us to hear. We hear all about Iran and Iraq till our ears bleed but when was the last time you heard about the struggles in Romania, Croatia, Serbia etc.... all those little countries crammed between the larger and more familiar ones.
The book also opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of suffering going on in a world I am not even aware of. I would never have thought about doing missions in one of these places where the faces our white just like ours but the struggles are often as great as many of the African nations. (not that going on missions to Africa is EVER a bad thing!! or to anywhere for that matter!) My heart has definitely been opened for a people I didn't even know existed and/or were suffering.
Check it out, it's a good (though heart wrenching) novel.
In other news:
We had our house inspection (finally!) and discovered all the little things wrong with the house. SCARY!
It turns out that the people who were trying to remodel this house were taking every shortcut possible. Almost all the electrical outlets are wired wrong. The laundry room drain is draining to the storm sewer instead of the real sewer. The laundry room has no foundation!? (What?!?!) That's right... what we thought was termite damage is actually just the case of a porch closed in and sheet rocked with NO FOUNDATION under it... silly silly.
We also discovered that some people had been making themselves quite at home in our place... The side door was stolen (hinges and everything) as well as a window unit and the entire bathroom sink/counter/cabinet. WHO DOES THIS??? We are assuming it was a neighbor or some one with a HUD key that knew the house was vacant and was doing a little remodeling themselves.
At first it made me scared but now I just think it's sort of funny... I would have never thought of stealing things like that. We need some appliances... maybe we're not done "looking at houses" after all... just kidddddding!
In good news, the furnace and other major systems all seem to be in good condition (we were assuming we would have to replace them before we saw them) and there was no termite damage! Hurray... so that should free up the money to get the other little jobs done that they told us about in the report.
So, it looks like we are set to close at the end of this month! CRAZY I am much more nervous about it than Drew, which is great because then I am able to just trust in his judgment and support his decisions. Men don't seem to be shaken up about a few electrical problems and a silly intruder (unlike a woman like me)!
Soon we'll be posting our work schedule and calling for any and all volunteers!!