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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

[close] In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding--an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair--she begins to unlock the book's mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book's journey from its salvation back to its creation.
The protagonist has a very interesting career, and I have never read anything like it. A Book Conservator, how cool is that. But Hannah Heath's personality did not appeal to me at all. She appears to be stand-offish and a little bitchy. I was also expecting a time warp (on the books journey to Haggadah) instead I find myself wanting to finish each chapter and see if there is something more interesting after the previous chapter. I do like the take on European and Jewish history, that was really fascinating. The whole plot seemed a little loose and I just couldn't hang on it as much as I wish I should have. I still recommend it for people who likes books that has historical meanings (plot wise).

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