Sunday, September 27, 2009

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

From the back cover:

"People of the Book crosses continents and centuries to bring stories of hope amidst darkness, compassion amidst cruelty, all bound together by the discoveries made by a young Australian woman restoring an ancient Hebrew book."

Opening this book to read it, I smiled as I read the dedication:

For the librarians.

As I am studying librarianship at the moment, I thought, 'This is the book for me!'

People of the Book, by Geralding Brooks, has two interleaving stories. The first is the story of Hanna, a renowned book conservator, who is attempting to piece together the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah. These chapters follow her painstaking investigation into parchments and pigments, as well as the story of her family and her life.

As an Australian, it is nice to read books with Australian voices and settings. Sometimes, however, Australian authors seem very self-conscious of their international readers, and tend to throw around a lot of Aussie slang for the sake of it. I think Brooks fell into this trap. At times I was cringing as the 'ockerisms' were flying!

The second story takes the reader back in time, folowing the history of the Haggadah. Sarajevo during World War II, Vienna 1894, Venice 1609, Tarragona 1492 and Seville 1480.

I found the historical stories fascinating.

I would recommend this book to readers who like to learn a little something as they're reading. It's a work of fiction, but is inspired by the true story of a Hebrew book known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. Each step back in time uncovers more in the story of the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims through the ages.


Lula O said...

I love books that delve back, like really far back in time. This one sounds interesting. Probably need to learn some Aussie first though huh?

Fiona said...

LOL, Brooks takes care to explain the meanings of each of the Aussie words or phrases that she uses!