People of the Book

People of the Book

by Geraldine Brooks

Gwendolyn Waring (03/10/13): I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The history of Jewish perescution from Spain to Sarajevo was informative and fascinating as told through the shreds of evidence found in the book.
Rating: *****

Lois Shaevel: I was fascinated to read the story of a conservationist called upon to work on the Sarajevo hagaddah. What especially interested me was the fact that this is a real artifact. The author moves effortlessly from the present to the past, introducing characters who had a role in producing or saving the beautifully illuminated masterpiece as well as people who play a significant role in her own life. Someone I know has a facsimile of this hagaddah and it is truly magnificent.
Rating: ****

Ava Shuster: Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize winnning author of March, has written another wonderful story. The book was inspired by the actual discovery of the Hebrew Codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. She learned of this discovery when she was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal covering the Bosnian War. A Muslim librarian had saved the book and this was the foundation for her wonderful tale. I am a fan of historical fiction and I was not dissapointed with her newest novel.

The main character, Hanna Heath, is an Australian rare-book expert. She is offered the job of analysing and conserving the Sarejevo Hagaddah. When she unlocks the binding she discovers several artifacts that can offer clues about the book\'s history. There is a wine stain,salt crystals, a part of an insect wing, and a white hair. Modern day technology and enhanced laboratories allow Hanna to extrapolate information about the hagaddah\'s journey through time. A thread that ran through the entire book was the long standing interrelationships between Muslims, Jews and Christians. At times her push to show the importance of tolerance was a bit too preachy; a valuable lesson but somewhat heavy handed. Overall, I enjoyed the book and I will be checking out one of her other books, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss: This is the first book that I have read by Geraldine Brooks and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The intertwining of fact and fiction made the pages of the Sarajevo Haggadah come alive. In addition to the story of the Haggadah, there was the background story of the relationship of Hanna, the Australian book expert, and her mother, a neurosurgeon. I appreciated the fact that both were strong women who were at the top of their professions in very different fields -- and how their goals of excelling at their crafts affected the life choices that they made and the relationships that they formed. I definitely recommend this book.
Rating: ****

Sherri Soriano: I loved this book also. It was very interesting. She has a wonderful imagination. Going back and forth in time did not bother me once I got used to it.
Rating: ****

Arlene Almas: I also found "People of the Book" enjoyable and fascinating. Starting from known facts about the Sarajevo Haggadah, miraculously saved from destruction during both World War II and the Bosnian War, the author takes us back in history to the very creation of the Haggadah in 14th century Spain. Her imagination fills in the story beautifully where factual knowledge cannot. True, there are many characters from many different eras, but as Judy mentioned, by the end the reader can put it all in sequence. I'd like to add my recommendation.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton: Geraldine Brooks is one of precious few authors who can mesmerize you with fact as well as fiction. I have read other books by her (Nine Parts of Desire; Year of Wonders) and this one holds to the same high standard. There aren't too many books where I read the "afterword," but I found it so interesting to learn what facts she used as a basis for the novel.  Although there were quite a few different stories and characters that could lead to confusion, I'm a sucker for an ending that ties them all together. I found People of the Book well worth reading.
Rating: ****

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