Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The People of the Book

by Geraldine Brooks

In all my years involved in book club, The People of the Book was the only selection I failed to read. My lame excuse is that I was too cheap to purchase it and my library reserve did not come up before our meeting. When it was finally my turn to check it out, I was on to other things and passed, always intending to read it. I think my book club disbanded in 2010.

The "book" is the Sarajevo Haggadah, which is an illustrated manuscript of the Jewish Passover ceremony containing significant pictures from creation through the death of Moses. Brooks takes us on a reverse journey of the tome as Hannah Heath, a chemist and fine arts conservator goes through the restoration process. In this version, the book is discovered in a library in Sarajevo, having arrived there from Venice, Vienna, Tarragona and Seville. In each location the book is protected from destruction by sometimes surprising individuals whose stories are told alongside the book's.

The story alternates between the life and research of Dr. Heath with the stories of the book's journey and rescuers. Personally, I didn't care at all for the Heath character and wished for a lot less of her, but I did enjoy the imagined expedition of the Haggadah.

I've been informed by a follower that I seem to be stuck on the historical fiction & mystery genre's lately. I'll take that into consideration for my next choices. But, I'm still behind on posting!

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