Saturday, February 2, 2008

People of the Book

Author: Geraldine Brooks
Challenge: The Pub 2008
Date Finished: January 29, 2008
Rating: 4.5/5

“Well, from what you’ve told me, the book has survived the same human disaster over and over again. Think about it. You’ve for a society where people tolerate difference, like Spain in the Convivencia, and everything’s humming along: creative, prosperous. Then somehow this fear, this hate, this hate, this need to demonize ‘the other’ – it just sort of rears up and smashes the whole society. Inquisition, Nazis, extremist Serb nationalists … same old, same old. It seems to me the book, at this point, bears witness to all that.”

This quote from People of the Book is in my opinion a total characterization concerning what this novel is about. The story focuses on a book restorer who sets out to restore a Haggadah (a book used in the passover celebration). While restoring the book she finds part of an insect wing, a shoddy binding, wine stains, salt crystals and a white hair. Each of these small things tells part of the interesting history of this one special book and it becomes clear that the true main character of this story is the book itself and not the individuals trying to save it. I loved the book! The writer really caught the essence of the struggles of the Jewish people throughout history and really drew me into the story. It is not an "on the edge of your seat" kind of book, but if the reader is looking for a wonderfully engaging story with a bit of a historical feel to it this book is a perfect fit for that type of reading.

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