Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review: The People of the Book

Several years ago, my reading circle read Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks.  I was intrigued that this journalistic style writer had opted for fiction, and on the recommendation of a friend whose literary tastes are spot on for me, I read The People of the Book.

Now, this novel is not great for it's literary style but for it's story that zips from one country and century to another in an effort to explain the origins of the very famous Haggadah of Sarajevo.  A Haggadah is the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover, including a narrative of the Exodus. This particular Haggadah exists and  is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, originating in Barcelona around 1350. (Wikipedia)

This read was a great learning experience for me, an adventure into ancient Jewish culture from Spain to Bosnia with visits to several other locations in between.  We follow Hanna Heath, an Australian book conservator who is responsible for restoring the Haggadah. The story alternates between sections set in the present day with Heath and other sections showing the history of the Haggadah linked to tiny evidences found in the book by Heath whilst conducting her investigation.

If you want a spell-binding, suspenseful read, if you like history, art, story-telling at it's best, take a plunge and read this masterfully-imagined jewel of a book.

For this and it's educational value, I give it 4+ stars out of 5.




Happy Camper UR Back! said...

I like your stories the best. You are my jewel.

Lou's Place said...

Ma suggestiopourune lecture d'éte, thr rosie Project.
Drôle et très leger.