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People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks wasn’t as good as I thought it would be when I started it, so I can’t give it a rave review, but I enjoyed it. Librarians come off pretty well in it, too, which is nice.
People of the Book is historical fiction lite — historical chapters alternating with contemporary chapters about an Australian book restorer, Hanna, preparing an historical and religious relic, an ancient illuminated Jewish text, for display in a Bosnian museum.
The germ of the story came from the true story of how an actual centuries-old text the Sarajevo Haggadah, was restored after a Bosnian Muslim librarian saved it from shelling in the 1990s. The author imagines the history of the book and how it was preserved through different periods of war, bloodshed, and violence against Jews, and, finally, how the book came to be in the first place — a 14th-century Jewish text with colored illuminations such as would normally be found in Catholic manuscripts is extremely rare.
People of the Book is a good book group book, in that there is plenty of material for discussion, but it isn’t too subtly or ambiguously presented.

Read The Boston Globe review of People of the Book.
Read The New York Times review of People of the Book.

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