People of the Book

A Novel
Brooks, Geraldine (Book - 2008 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
People of the Book

Item Details

A fictionalized account of the turbulent history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated manuscript which has survived into the twentieth century thanks to people of various faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. Hanna Heath, a manuscript conservator hired to restore the manuscript in 1996 Sarajevo, finds and pursues clues to crucial moments in the book's history.
Authors: Brooks, Geraldine
Statement of Responsibility: Geraldine Brooks
Title: People of the book
a novel
Publisher: New York, N.Y. :, Viking,, 2008
Characteristics: 372 p. :,map ;,25 cm.
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Report This Apr 11, 2014
  • KCLSLibrarians rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A beautifully illuminated ancient Hebrew text is at the center of this fascinating detective story that ultimately plunges book expert Hannah Heath into the dangerous world of art forgers and political fanatics. From wine stains to insect wings Hannah traces the history of book all the way back to 1480 where she finds the true reasons that this particular text was so beautifully illustrated. A great read for historical fiction and mystery fans alike.

Report This Mar 14, 2014
  • ehbooklover rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is two books in one. First, it is a historical adventure story of the Sarajevo Haggadah and secondly, it tells the story of book conservator Hannah. Hannah’s present day investigation of the book takes the reader back in time to get to know all of the people who touched or were changed by it. Obviously well researched and full of complicated and flawed characters, this was a very enjoyable read.

Report This Feb 04, 2014
  • Cathleen @Blood rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This was a well written historical novel that tracked a single document, a Haggadah through hundreds of years of its existence. This is a story of violence and yet of shared values between people of different countries and different beliefs.

Report This Jun 10, 2013
  • mogie rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Really interesting book. Covers an unusual topic based partially on history.

Report This May 04, 2013
  • iluvjacob rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I read Geraldine Brooks' other book 'March', which was a Pulitzer Prize winner and deservedly so. This book doesn't favorably compare in terms of writing. The concept was very interesting, and the execution was beautiful in parts but not so much in others. The flow from the past to the present and back was somewhat choppy - and it was difficult to care about the characters in the present. They weren't all that likable.The writing for the 'past' characters was, I found, more compelling. Still a good book - I had to skip over a few pages in the chapter on the Spanish Inquisition - I understand it happened, but I choose not to read about it in detail.

Report This Jul 29, 2012
  • mcschroeder rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Interesting and good read. I hated putting it down. Loved looking at history as a series of normal human actions in everyday life. I'd recommend it for a book club- lots to discuss.

Report This May 28, 2012
  • ser_library rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

historical romance with a journalists eye for research and detail

Report This Jul 26, 2011
  • baylife rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wonderful book with a great story set amongst so much fascinating detail of different eras, countries, histories crafts and religions. I couldn't put it down and at the end felt I had learnt so much about many different subjects. I shall read everything I can find by Geraldine Brooks

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Report This Jun 05, 2013
  • Sounddrive rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Sounddrive thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Report This May 29, 2012
  • Keep_On_Rockin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Keep_On_Rockin thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

Publishers Weekly Reading Geraldine Brooks's remarkable debut novel, Year of Wonders, or more recently March, which won the Pulitzer Prize, it would be easy to forget that she grew up in Australia and worked as a journalist. Now in her dazzling new novel, People of the Book, Brooks allows both her native land and current events to play a larger role while still continuing to mine the historical material that speaks so ardently to her imagination. Late one night in the city of Sydney, Hanna Heath, a rare book conservator, gets a phone call. The Sarajevo Haggadah, which disappeared during the siege in 1992, has been found, and Hanna has been invited by the U.N. to report on its condition. Missing documents and art works (as Dan Brown and Lev Grossman, among others, have demonstrated) are endlessly appealing, and from this inviting premise Brooks spins her story in two directions. In the present, we follow the resolutely independent Hanna through her thrilling first encounter with the beautifully illustrated codex and her discovery of the tiny signs-a white hair, an insect wing, missing clasps, a drop of salt, a wine stain-that will help her to discover its provenance. Along with the book she also meets its savior, a Muslim librarian named Karaman. Their romance offers both predictable pleasures and genuine surprises, as does the other main relationship in Hanna's life: her fraught connection with her mother. In the other strand of the narrative we learn, moving backward through time, how the codex came to be lost and found, and made. From the opening section, set in Sarajevo in 1940, to the final section, set in Seville in 1480, these narratives show Brooks writing at her very best. With equal authority she depicts the struggles of a young girl to escape the Nazis, a duel of wits between an inquisitor and a rabbi living in the Venice ghetto, and a girl's passionate relationship with her mistress in a harem. Like the illustrations in the Haggadah, each of these sections transports the reader to a fully realized, vividly peopled world. And each gives a glimpse of both the long history of anti-Semitism and of the struggle of women toward the independence that Hanna, despite her mother's lectures, tends to take for granted. Brooks is too good a novelist to belabor her political messages, but her depiction of the Haggadah bringing together Jews, Christians and Muslims could not be more timely. Her gift for storytelling, happily, is timeless. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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