Thursday Book Review: People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
Before I start this review, I want you to promise me that you’re going to give this book a chance. I promise you, it’s definitely worth it.
Do I have your word that you’re going to read this book? Because I’m not going to go on before you promise me you’re going to run right on over to the library and get yourself a copy of this book.
Because here’s the thing: I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to give this brilliant book its due in this review. I’m afraid you might read my description and think, “why on earth would I want to read that?” When I mention places like Sarajevo and Bosnia and use words like “Haggadah,” I’m afraid I’m going to lose some of you right off the bat.
But I know you. You promised you were going to give this a try and you’re not going to let anything in the previous paragraph scare you away from this highly readable and fascinating book. Right?
So here’s the gist: a rare-book expert named Hanna is hired to analyze and conserve the famed Sarajevo Haggadah (rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript). Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the book’s ancient binding–an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals and a white hair, she sets out to unlock the book’s mysteries. The reader gets to travel along on the journey as she unlocks the secrets of the book, one-by-one.
It is quite a journey, one you won’t soon forget.
People of the Book is historical fiction at its best. Each story is so well told, so pitch-perfect, that I couldn’t help but believe that this book’s unbelievable journey happened exactly as Ms. Brooks described.
I promise you’ll enjoy reading this book.
Now go on out and pick up this book–I know you don’t want to break your promise. : )