Wednesday, May 20, 2009

People of the Book

In People of the Book, we follow Hanna Heath, a rare book expert, as she uncovers the mysteries surrounding a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript, the famed Sarajevo Haggadah. As Hanna examines the Haggadah, she uncovers various artifacts from the past that lead her to investigate how the book survived the Inquisitions, the Nazis and several other acts of violence. The rarity of this Haggadah stems not only from its' age but also from the illuminations it contains. Why are they there? Who created them? Another mystery since these types of illuminations are not usually associated with Hebrew texts.

The Sarajevo Haggadah is quite real; however, the story told in this novel is one of fiction. Ms. Brooks has created a wonderful account of the Haggadah's survival for the last 500 years. In it we see not only the events that took place but also the people who were either involved in the creation of the Haggadah or in its' protection, regardless of their religious beliefs. As each artifact is researched in the 'present', Ms. Brooks presents us with a flashback account of how that artifact came to be in the book. These flashbacks are accomplished via alternating the chapters between the 'present' and the past. They start with the more recent past and move backwards in time. I thought that this was nicely done.

I thought that the novel was well researched/written and I enjoyed reading about the history surrounding the Haggadah. Was their an underlying message? Possibly. One in which Jews, Christians and Muslims can coexist in peace as they once did. I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, mysteries or Geraldine Brooks.


  1. Thanks Cathy! You're so nice. :) Now I have another book blogging friend to add to my list. Thanks for stopping by. Now I'm following you!

  2. I'm stopping by from Missy's place!

    I'm a Library Thing member too - both as author and as early reviewer! *smiling*

  3. Excellent review! I've heard alot about this book but your review kind of explained it the best. I'm not usually one for historical fiction but now you have me intrigued!

  4. I've seen this book around a lot, but I have not read it-I think I will now. Great review & love your blog-sweet:)

  5. Thanks for the review. I have also read this book and was pretty impressed. There was just so much to it. I like books with underlying messages so long as they are not spelled out for me.