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People of the Book
People of the Book
Author: Geraldine Brooks
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war — In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780670018215
ISBN-10: 067001821X
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 176 ratings
Publisher: Viking Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed People of the Book on + 70 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
It is easy to see why Catherine Zeta-Jones purchased the rights of this book to turn it into a movie. One of the best books I have ever read -- Geraldine Brooks writes an amazing story of one very special book, and the lives of the people that may have touched it. Weaving a fictional story based on true events, "People of the Book" moves through the present day of a book restorer, who is asked to work on the Haggadah, a Jewish book on display in Sarajevo, saved by a Muslim historian in World War II, potentially through the Spanish Inquisition, and also potentially saved in the Jewish Ghettoes of Venice. I sawy "potentially" as the author has created additional plot lines that help explain certain items that are in the book that are found by the book restorer -- a butterfly wing, salt, wine, etc. She has created a fictional account of each of the hands that have come into contact with the book, and what life may have been like during their times. Each section is fluidly written, and the adventure that the book takes is unbelievable, and the ending is amazing. The present day main character is a young woman with her own history of family troubles, and it is well told. I ended up researching even more on the Haggadah and am amazed by it; research about it as well, and you will be all the better for it!
reviewed People of the Book on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book caught my eye for its unique cover artwork so I picked it up. Wow - the story insides surpasses the painting tenfold. I loved this novel. Its a wonderful story of a book that is 500 years old - the people who made it, touched it and became part of it. Your main narrator is the book conservator who has been called to evaluate it and repair any damage. She finds small clues to its history as she does her work - an insect wing, a white hair, wine spills and sea salt. As she investigates each of these we are taken back in time to see where these clues came from and along the way we learn the stories of several people connected to the book throughout history. Not only did I love the story but the way the author writes is magically - she has the gift to make her prose almost like fine poetry.
reviewed People of the Book on + 863 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This has to be in the top 3 books I have read in 2008. Brooks beautifully told the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated Hebrew codex from 15th century Spain, by interweaving the story of Hanna Heath and her examination of the book with stories of the people it touched going back to its creation. Each of the separate stories from the Nazi occupation of Sarajevo and the underground freedom fighters to the story of how the paintings were created in Moorish Spain were totally fascinating. What was really interesting was the cooperation of both Muslims and Jews during different periods as well as the periods of hate during the Spanish Inquisition and World War II. Brooks based her story on some real-life happenings related to the very real Sarajevo Haggadah. High recommendation for this one!
reviewed People of the Book on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
In 1996 a rare and beautifully illuminated Haggadah from 15th century Spain has been found and Hanna Heath, a rare book expert, has been called into examine it. During her inspection of the book Hanna finds an insect wing, a wine stain mixed with blood, salt crystals, probably from tears, and a white hair. Hanna collects these items in order to determine the books history; author Brooks uses them as a jumping off point to tell the story of the Haggadah and how it has survived for 600 years. Traveling back from the present to the creation of the book we meet those people who had a hand in the creation and often desecration of this book, we also meet heroes and villains from all walks of life who play a role in the books surviving. Inter-mixed with the past stories is a current day story involving Hanna and her mother, an unloving and self-absorbed surgeon with whom Hanna has a contentious relationship, and Hanna's love affair with a tortured Muslim librarian, one of the latest saviors of the book. I really loved Year of Wonders by Brooks, and was really looking forward to this book. Happily I was not disappointed as I love the way she wove all these disparate stories into a poignant story of love and hate throughout the centuries, right up to the present day. Excellent story, fabulous book.
reviewed People of the Book on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
It's been quite a while since I've read a book that left me thinking "Wow!", but this one did. I had really enjoyed the book "March" by this author, so looked forward to reading "People of the Book." And she didn't disappoint. The author wove a wonderful tale about a fascinating topic, and I loved this historical aspect of it. Books written in two time periods can leave you feeling dazed and confused if it's not done well, but I thought Geraldine Brooks did it seamlessly. Two thumbs up.
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reviewed People of the Book on + 90 more book reviews
I recognized the name of this author which made me have a bit more interest in this book. When I realized it was the same author who wrote "Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague", I knew I had to read this. I think I've learned more about history from reading historical novels than I have from history classes in school. Brooks is excellent at weaving a story around history that makes it a learning experience. This book, about the Hebrew codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, opened my eyes to much more than I would ever have known. I found it interesting to learn of Convivencia, when Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexisted in relative peace. Sometimes its refreshing to know that there can be religion without terror and war, book burnings, slavery, suppression, well, you get my drift. I am in fact, drifting right now though, because there was much struggle in this book's "lifetime." In 1996, Hannah, a rare book expert, finds herself delving into history when analyzing a Hebrew haggadah. In the books she finds an insect wing fragment, wine stains, a piece of hair, and salt crystals for starters, and begins to follow the whereabouts of this book, it's past, who may have created it, who risked their lives to save it. Well written, enlightening, a learning experience. Really enjoyed it,
reviewed People of the Book on + 15 more book reviews
I never felt anything for the contemporary protagonist, Hannah. Her story added nothing to the book and made it 100+ pages too long. I would have much rather known more about the historical characters that told the journey of the haggadah. I enjoyed those portions of the book very much, and think the historical realm is where Geraldine Brooks excels.
reviewed People of the Book on + 563 more book reviews
Lost interest in and abandoned it halfway through the second part (Sarajevo in 1940.) Enjoyed first part about the book itself, but not the side trip that had nothing to do with the book.

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