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The Island at the End of the World
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The Island at the End of the World

3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  78 reviews

A chilling post-apocalyptic tale of how far a father will go to protect his children-from the author of The Amnesiac

In a world nearly destroyed by catastrophic floods, one family has been spared. Many years ago, as the waters rose, a father and his three children took to their ark and drifted to the safety of a small island. Life there is a quiet idyll of music and farmi

nookbook (ebook), 224 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Penguin Group US (first published January 1st 2009)
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A little Romeo and Juliet, a little Adam and Eve, entirely creepy. The child narrator's voice was extremely annoying: "He askt us if we wer hurt an that wer all he never askt wat we wer do-ing..."

Then there was that horrible scene in the very beginning where the father kills the boy's cat, then sticks the cat in a game trap to make it look like an accident...

Not to mention the incest.

Just no.

What a strong little book. A family lives in an ark on a remote hilltop after a great flood has destroyed the rest of the world. Chapters alternate between different family members. Pa's voice mixes religious platitudes and profanity. He's obviously disturbed, more than a little wine-sodden. Is it the stress of keeping his children alive, or something else?

Nine-year-old Finn lives up to his name, narrating in an uneducated, spelling-challenged way. I actually found this aspect of the book a litt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maybe it's LOST fever, but I felt compelled to indulge in some post-apocalyptic island lit, and the cover sucked me the rest of the way in. But even with relatively low expectations, the novel fell flat for me. The plot hinges on the arrival of a stranger to an island (that one, in the title... you know... at the "end of the world"?) inhabited only by a man and his three children, though the "stranger" figures very little into the actual story. The first half of the book, narrated in alternating ...more
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Raymond P
Although I never reached the level of enjoyment I was hoping for, The Island at the End of the World is worth the read, if you've already started. While it wasn't fully satisfying, the book has many LIKES that I found beautiful. The thoughts some of the characters have are so provocative and insightful. It's delightful to really get INTO some of the character's minds, especially the mind of Alice, who at one point believes that a bird could never be sad and perhaps wouldn't mind becoming one in ...more
Marinel Crisostomo
In the story, The Island at the End of the World, the author, Sam Taylor, expresses the hardships a family of four go though. An eight year old boy named Finn, his older sister Alice, and their younger sister, Daisy travel in an ark along with their father, Ben. In the beginning, their mother, Mary, was drowned on the journey there to save Daisy’s life. On top of that, their homeland has suffered through a devastating flood. As a result, they must find a way to survive on a surprisingly peculia ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maybe I've just been watching too much of the Duggar family on 18 Kids and Counting or M. Night Shyamalan's The Village but lately I've been drawn to the questions:
How far should parents go to protect their children from the evils of the world and does it matter how ridiculous/restrictive the methods are if it is for a "greater good?"
The Island at the End of the World is the story of a man and his three children living all alone on an island for several years. While under the belief that th
The great flood has washed away the whole world, except for Pa, Alice, Finn, and Daisy. Pa saw the signs and built and ark, which delivered them safely to the island where they have lived all alone for the past 6 years -- alone until the "dark mark" appears on the horizon, and approaches their island. Their security, their survival, and their trust in all they know is in jeopardy.

The story begins with Pa as the narrator, who speaks almost in tongues. When he's not shouting f**k, his favorite wor

This book is so different to anything I've read before, but after just finishing it I feel a bit ripped off. In the beginning, I had to make a real effort to "get into" the book (as many others have noted, Finn's narration was irritating to begin with but I did grow accustom to it in the end) but stuck with it because there was a certain enigma that I was hoping would pay off. Half way through the book with the arrival of Will is when the book really grabbed me. Everything that I found irritatin
Michelle Tran
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Christopher Rex
I love a good "post-apocalyptic" story. This book is such a tale, but with twist. A solid read with touches of "The Road" and "Mosquito Coast" in the storyline. If you like this type of genre, this book is probably up your alley.

It was "difficult" for me to get going b/c the narrator changes from chapter to chapter. This wasn't really the problem, except that one of the narrators (thankfully only in the first half) is 8-year-old Finn. And, the author decided to write the way an 8-
I picked this one up on a whim while waiting for another to arrive in the mail. It was an incredible easy read, although if I hadn't been on a plane with nothing else to read I probably would've put it down never to return.

The premise of the story is interesting enough, but the problem is it never develops. The characters remain flat and predictable, as does the plot. The father's bible-thumping/short temper scenes seem to play out over and over again just in different settings. The young boy's
Flinn's phonetic writing style, and Pa's incomplete (and often incoherent) sentences made this book kind of a chore to read. The eldest daughter was the only one with an easy flowing writing style and we only heard from her for parts of the last half of the book. That's probably why the end went so much faster than the beginning.

Also, there are no tigers in this book. None. Not even a mention. So that was dissappointing.

And finally a logic issue. Pa watches Will slowly appoach the island for d
almost great...4/5 wonderful and then a little frustrating. The first half of this enticing little novel had me nervous and a great thriller should. It was like a simple Hitchcock setup..nothing surprising..but done perfectly and the garrotte tightens every, just as his later earlier almost great novel The Amnesiac did, it just can't quite get there and wanders a bit like a lost puppy and ultimately becomes a good book that could have been great. ...more
The premise of this is brilliant, but the dual narration keeps the pace switching every other chapter, which I found tedious; plus Finn's vernacular, while probably true to the situation, is very cumbersome to take in the longer stretches. I'll read more of Taylor's work, but I was bummed this book didn't propel me into his next one as I had hoped.
Apparently, this author is not a fan of full sentences. Or punctuation. Or correct spelling. This was done on purpose in a stream of consciousness style to capture the feeling of the character that's being followed in that particular chapter, but it made for some difficult reading. The book is only 215 pages, and yet it took me a week to read it. I have to say that the author successfully created the atmosphere he was aiming for (paranoia when the reader is with the father, innocence when with F ...more
Brodi Miles
I usually buy books I read about somewhere else - or have read about the author. I know I bought this book on a visit to NYC but am not sure why. When I read the summary of the book it seemed a little sci-fish which is not usually my thing. The reviews for it were also mediocre and I was wondering how long the flight home from NYC this time was going to be without a good book. I could hardly put this book down and it's a story that if I tell you why I liked it so much I may give away the plot. T ...more
Simon newson
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Kest Schwartzman
Full of gimmicks, but not a one of them is enough to cover for simple bad writing.
Leah Jones-barrett
Didn't like it that much. Ending was pretty bad. At the end, I still had questions.
Mrs. TB
I enjoyed this one. There are four main characters, a father and his three children, and the narration alternates between the father and the two eldest children. Each character had a distinctive voice. The world has flooded, and the father has managed to save his children, although his wife perished along the way. He is trying to protect his children, and believes they are the only people left in the entire world. All is peaceful until one day the father spots a man at sea headed toward their is ...more
In a world ravaged by a great flood, Pa and his three children have survived on an island far from the horrors and sins of the civilized world. Raised on biblical teachings and their father's stories, the little family has settled into their roles as the last vestige of pure humanity. Into this idyllic paradise is introduced a survivor - a castaway named Will - whose very existence threatens to destroy everything Pa has created. As the children begin to unravel the truth behind the lies, Pa begi ...more
This was one of the weirdest and one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. Strange biblical and Shakespearean language throughout makes the stream-of-conscious writing that switches from character to character even harder to follow. The phonetic writing of Finn's character isn't realistic (I'm a teacher; I know how children write) and that bothered me a lot.

I finished it only because I wanted to see what happened. The ending wasn't surprising, but wasn't completely satisfying as I'd have
This was an interesting book. The writing it hard to follow as it jumps between different narrators, with each narrator having a distinct speaking style. The different styles of narration helped to identify the speaker, but did give the book a rather disjointed feel. Although I enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars, there were some aspects that were problematic for me, but those were mostly language issues. And it was a page turner (finished in a few days) and a quick read so all in all I enjoyed the n ...more
creepy! And totally believable. Yikes!
Interesting premise developed into a great novel.
The story is told through the voices of three of it's characters and there is no other way that it could have been done which helps to build the suspense as the reader learns that things aren't exactly as they seem to be. The end of the book is quite a shock and at the same time I was left wondering what was going to happen after the events in the book took place.
Reading Finn's parts was hard until I got used to them and he turned out to be my fav
Sep 29, 2009 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ryan Criddle, Nancy Criddle
I had never heard of this book before yesterday when I came across it at the local library. I started reading and the story sucked me in. It was a bit hard to follow at first, as the teller of the story changes with each chapter, but it's told in a captivating way! i finished the book in about 1 day total. It captures a LOT of emotions involved in relationships with those around us and allows you to identify with the various characters as you see the events unfold from different characters persp ...more
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Sam Taylor was born in 1970 and is the former pop culture correspondent for the Observer. He lives in France with his young family.
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