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People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine…

People of the Book: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,261441619 (3.94)805
Title:People of the Book: A Novel
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 372 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008)

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» See also 805 mentions

English (428)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (440)
Showing 1-5 of 428 (next | show all)
A lovely idea, finely realized. Brooks deftly manages to thread together a series of vignettes across vast and various time and space tracing the marks left on the Sarajevo Haggadah. The best trick is using the surprising actual historical aspects of the real haggadah to ground the fiction. In lesser hands, the multiple timelines, characters, details, and references could over-power or weigh down a narrative, but Brooks has everything fit neatly and naturally together. There is a slight gap between what the reader knows and what the protagonist knows, which feels faintly unresolved. Still, a pleasure to read. Worth it for the descriptions of historical book-making techniques. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
rabck from PerryFran; Fabulous book. The center of the book is the Sarajevo Haggadah, a book that has existed for 500 years, notable for it's illuminations (painted icon-like pictures) which are rare in a Jewish book. As the Australian curator takes apart and rebinds the book, she discovers things in it, like a cat hair and wine stains, and each discovery takes her in a direction to identify the why, and us in a direction backwards for a time in the life of the book, to when and how the artifact occurred. ( )
  nancynova | Mar 16, 2019 |
Dr. Hanna is a researcher and expert on rare books, and in 1996 she receives a lifetime offer, her professional life proposal: to diagnose and preserve the famous book of Sarajevo legend.
This book of legend saved from Serbian bombing during the war in Bosnia. The beautiful tale is one of the only titles in ancient Jewish history adorned with paintings.
The researcher reveals in the old cover a series of tiny objects: the tip of a wing of an insect, wine stains, salt grains, white hair. The research conducted by the researcher brings her unexpectedly to the circle of art forgers and conspiracies as well as to the most extreme nationalists. At the same time, this historical narrative accompanied by the development of a novel of a love affair between the researcher and a Bosnian man.
And then there are the chapters between and in which we enter the innards of all the things that took place at that time: Who painted the book and to which family she passed, How the book had come to Sarajevo in general?
Each chapter tells a different story as we continue to read about Hanna. The book is very fluent and hard to leave, I left it with new knowledge about cultures, art, and historical events, with a lot of curiosity for further deepening, but especially with the critical insight I (in my humble opinion) Geraldine Brooks tried to assimilate in the pages of the book. ( )
  JantTommason | Jan 7, 2019 |
Disappointed with the main female character that came off like a slut. I was quite interested to find out about the historical book. But time is too precious... ( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
Enjoyed this book for a few reasons:

the depth of the main and secondary characters' lives. Their challenges on the historical timeline emphasized human commonalities despite originating in very different countries.

The hunt for the truth, and Hanna's dedicated and passionate focus on scientific protocol, integrity companioned with her creative wit and naturally inquisitive mind made her and her work compelling.

The most powerful take-away is the global diversity and serendipity that went into creating each part of this precious, beautiful and important artifact. The thoughts, hearts and souls, fears and dreams each creator (from around the world) brought to this project demonstrate that every action we take, and choice we make has small and large effects, good and bad, in the present and potentially in the future.

Very good read!
  Bookish59 | Dec 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 428 (next | show all)
While peering through a microscope at a rime of salt crystals on the manuscript of the Haggadah, Hanna reflects that “the gold beaters, the stone grinders, the scribes, the binders” are “the people I feel most comfortable with. Sometimes in the quiet these people speak to me.” Though the reader’s sense of Hanna’s relationship with the Haggadah rarely deepens to such a level, Geraldine Brooks’s certainly has.
Brooks' novel meticulously, lovingly amalgamates mystery and history with the personal story of its heroine, rare-book expert and conservator Hanna Heath.
If Brooks becomes the new patron saint of booksellers, she deserves it. The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.
added by DieFledermaus | editUSA Today, Susan Kelly (Jan 9, 2008)

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geraldine Brooksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wren, EdwinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There, where one burns books,
one in the end, burns men. 

-- Heinrich Heine
For the librarians
First words
I might as well say, right from the jump: it wasn't my usual kind of job.
The words stuck to his tongue like...the ashes that had fallen in a warm rain after the last book burning.
I wanted to give a sense of the people of the book, the different hands that had made it, used it, protected it.  I wanted it to be a gripping narrative, even suspenseful.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book expert, has been offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artificacts in its ancient binding -- an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair -- she begins to unlock the book's mysteries, ushering in its exquisite and atmospheric past, from its salvation back to its creation through centuries of exile and war.
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No descriptions found.

In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries' old, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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