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People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
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People of the Book (edition 2008)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,581None572 (3.94)671
Member:sueellenshaw
Title:People of the Book
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Viking (2008), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Haggadah, Sarajevo, book conservators, mystery, multifaith

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

2008 (64) 2009 (47) Australia (92) Australian (43) book club (61) book conservation (89) books (179) books about books (137) Bosnia (128) fiction (939) Haggadah (171) historical (73) historical fiction (493) history (134) Jewish (67) Jewish History (60) Jews (89) Judaism (231) literature (46) mystery (85) novel (119) read (63) read in 2008 (47) read in 2009 (51) religion (100) Sarajevo (170) Spain (71) to-read (126) Venice (43) war (46)
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» See also 671 mentions

English (347)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (357)
Showing 1-5 of 347 (next | show all)
14. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008, 379 pages, Read Feb 28 - Mar 8)

Read for my RL book club. I don't want to add much to the conversation. It's a bad book, but readable. Brooks has two major award winning books. I've read them both, thought they were pretty good efforts, but not exactly masterpeices. In any case, she out-plotted her abilities here. It would take a lot to make this book work, as several different and mostly unconnected fictional pieces need to be added a contemporary fictional setting. Presumably she was hoping to pull off something like Ivo Andrić did (and even partially in the same location). None of the fictional pieces were particularly special here, none. Some were decent and some were simply bad.

The best thing Brooks wrote for this was her true history of the book's subject, a unique ancient and curious haggadah. But that is not included here*. The essay can be found in the The New Yorker: Chronicles : The Book of Exodus : A double rescue in wartime Sarajevo.

*My paperback had a shortened version of this essay. ( )
  dchaikin | Apr 12, 2014 |
One of my Top 5 read for 2013 ( )
  suline | Apr 10, 2014 |
This is the story of a book. A very specific manuscript book--the Sarajevo Haggadah. A conservator's exploration into the books history as revealed by the book itself and tiny artifacts found within its pages is intercut with stories about the owners of the Haggadah over the past 400 years or so. The conservator becomes involved in intrigue surrounding the book in the present day. Several parts historical fiction plus a little bit of a thriller. ( )
  bibliostuff | Mar 20, 2014 |
I wish I could give this one another half a star. It doesn't quite make it to the "really liked it!" stage, but almost. The relationship between Hanna and Ozren seemed forced, more like an afterthought, as if it wasn't there, and her editor said, "It needs a romantic side plot, how about Hanna and Ozren?" Then, the ending's plot twist struck me as being totally unnecessary - the story of the Haggadah was fascinating enough, it didn't require the Dan Brownish finale.

All that said, I really did enjoy it. I just think it could have been better! ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
Wonderful: You must either read much more carefully than I do, or re-read from back to front, to understand and appreciate what Brooks has done in what might be seen as a collection of articulated short stories. Another method (mine) was to read it for entertainment the first time and then, having picked up enough to be impressed, go through it again to see how meticulously Brooks imagined and then played out her chain of people (truly The People of the Book) and events. And how she loves those people.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 347 (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 editionsconfirmed
Wren, EdwinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There, where one burns books one in the end, burns men. 
-- Heinrich Heine
Dedication
For the librarians
First words
I might as well say, right from the jump: it wasn't my usual kind of job.
Quotations
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 (3)

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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