Book Review: People of the Book

Title: People of the Book

Author: Geraldine Brooks

Reviewed by: Connie Barrington

No, no, the book is not about librarians or publishers, or at least not directly. The “people of the book” in the title are those who are connected to the book itself, the writer, illustrator, and owners, according to Dr. Hannah Heath, the book conservator, narrator and protagonist of this engrossing piece of fiction based on a true story.

Hannah is called to Sarajevo in 1996 from her home in Australia in 1996 to consult on a rare book, the “Sarajevo Haggadah”. This haggadah is a book of Jewish stories from the 1500s, which has survived through many harrowing times, in part due to the heroism of those entrusted with the book.

Coming in just as the Bosnian war has wound up, Hannah is uncomfortable and thrilled with the project, both at the same time. Her work in conservation, combined with a true curiosity about those who have held the book over time, leads her to explore the “clues” she finds in the book and her contemporary story is interwoven with the story of the book’s travels.

This is a fascinating story and a compelling read. It combines mystery and history, with many thought-provoking considerations. The book is available in print and on audio, which has a great reader who provides appropriate accents for the myriad characters.

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Published in: on April 30, 2008 at 10:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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