Friday, October 24, 2008

People of the Book

by Geraldine Brooks
Hanna Heath is a rare book conservator in Australia, called to Bosnia to help restore a very rare book indeed: the Sarajevo Haggadah, which had gone missing during the siege in 1992. As Hanna gets to know the book, which is one of the few illuminated manuscripts in the history of Judaism, she comes across a few clues as to its history: a botched binding, a tiny butterfly wing, a white hair, some salt crystals. We travel back in time to witness these crucial moments in the book's 500-year life, and those who lives it touched along the way, including a girl who helps to save it from the Nazis and those who possessed it in Seville, Venice, Vienna. Between each story from the past, we return to Hanna, as she falls in love with the Bosnian librarian who saved the book during its most recent sectarian conflict. It's an intricately interwoven set of stories, full of memorable characters.

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