Review: PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Geraldine Brooks

The Haggadah is an ancient illuminated Hebrew book that has survived across centuries of war, plague and persecution to come under the study of Hannah Heath, a rare book professional. She travels to Sarajevo where the book is located and makes minor repairs to the binding. In the course of her examination, the book reveals minute clues to its previous journeys and Hannah researches the possible routes the book may have taken to bring it to its present location.

The story reveals the nature of this journey through vignettes visiting different periods of time from the 1500’s to the present day and describing how the book came to be made. Eventually the plot returns to present day and Hannah, who begins to worry that the current caretakers of the Haggadah may have ulterior motives in regard to the book. She can't let the matter of the book rest and her suspicions lead her to various locations and specialists in medicine and science to help her discover the hidden agendas of various people she encounters. In so doing she discovers something in her own background that connects her to the book on a much more personal level than she had anticpated.

This is an interesting novel, but not a page-turner since too much of the book is interrupted by the back and forth traveling between centuries.**1/2. Hardcover, 384 pages.


Literary Feline on January 1, 2009 at 5:27 PM said...

I've had my eye on this one for awhile. I've heard mostly good things about it, but others have had the same complaint you mention in regards to the back and forth bits.

Staci on January 1, 2009 at 6:35 PM said...

Sometimes I enjoy books that go back and forth between time periods but after reading your review I may not consider this a must read for 2009.

Myckyee on January 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM said...

Literary - I had high hopes for this too since I really enjoyed her earlier book, Year of Wonders.

Staci - I usually like books that go back and forth too (Lady of Hay comes to mind), but this one really didn't do much for me - especially the parts that were set in present day.

Sandra on January 2, 2009 at 9:02 AM said...

I really liked this book myself. It's always nice to see an honest review though.


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