People of the Book Paperback – 1 Oct 2008
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'Brooks expertly guides us to the conclusion that the world is made up of only two types of people: those who would destroy books and those who would give their lives to save them. This illuminating novel, like its predecessor, is well worthy of both Pulitzer and prime-time approbation.' Independent on Sunday
'These stories have a raw and visceral power. The book is full of historical detail.' Naomi Alderman, F.T. Magazine
'An irresistible subject, given urgency by its timeliness and poignancy by its paradoxicality: for the novel is based on the true story of an ancient Jewish codex saved from the fire by a Muslim librarian. Her performance will satisfy many readers.' Guardian
'The epic themes of love and war are her preferred canvas and here she sets up multiple narrative strands to tell the turbulent story of this Haggadah. Anti-Semitism is the momentum propelling the book's extraordinary journey forwards and Brooks evokes her various fraught historical-religious conflicts vividly.' Metro
‘Even more compelling than the detective plot is the novel's portrayal of the harrowing lives of its historical characters. Brooks is a compassionate writer. “People of the Book” is a powerful account of individual resistance to intolerance and the precious value of history. It is also a gripping story.' TLS
'The descriptions are sensuous and the story fascinating.' The Times'
“Lively historical novel…Brooks enlivens her page-turner with a clever, urbane narrator…the engrossing details of Heath's book-detecting skills make her a truly likable heroine.” Observer
'These stories have a raw and visceral power. The book is full of historical detail.'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel concentrates predominantly in more modern times, although the 'novel within the novel' takes us back through time; exploring the persecution of the Jews through recent times and back to the Spanish Inquisition.
Hanna, the main character, is a restorer of ancient books who is invited to restore teh Sarajevo haggadah - an ancient text which appears to have been preserved against all the odds. During her time with the book, she discovers several 'clues' to the past history of the book and the people responsible for its preservation. These clues lead her to speculate a bit more about the history of the book - but, meanwhile, the 'book within the book' allows the clues to reveal more of the story to us, the readers.
Other reviewers have expressed disappointment that Hanna herself was not able to uncover the story of the book's history - but for me, that would have been totally unrealistic from the few small clues hidden within, and would have ruined the credibility of this well researched piece of fiction. After all, this book is entitled 'The People of the Book' - so it is totally appropriate that it looks at those involved in the preservation, rather than in the book itself. Nevertheless, hanna's story is beautifully dealt with, and Brooks has still managed to add a couple of intriguing twists to the end of the story.Read more ›
The majority of the book focuses on Hanna, the expert conserver, and not only her findings but her changing relationship with her mother as she herself discovers secrets from her own past. Unlike many who have reviewed this book, I actually found these chapters the most difficult, they were written in a very different style to those set in the past, one which I found did not hold my attention as well. The first chapter, which places us in Bosnia in 1996, seemed very technical and was mainly centered on giving us a picture of Hanna as someone very focused and dedicated to her work by telling us of the level of research she had gone into to understand the conservation of books. However, I found this chapter slightly confusing and after reading the second, felt that the two should have been placed in the opposite order, with the Haggadah being introduced before its conserver.Read more ›
The present-day book restorer's exploration of the object she has in front of her opens up windows into the past thanks to small signs and markings she finds: a curious stain, a moth's wing, marks where clasps once were, which the author then spins into tales of what might-have-been, spanning the years and many walks of life. This is a book to spend time over, and the imagery is stunning, little breaths of history coming alive and making this a book within a book.
Its difficult to convey the sense of wonder you get as each layer of the mystery of the Haggadah's past is unfolded, as you go back in time and meet men, women and children who've lived, and sometimes died, and whose interaction with the book have left these tiny marks.
Truly a compelling read, and the insight into the restoration work and the clues mere paper and ink can leave were fascinating, although I was less interested in Hanna's life and loves than in the rest of the tale. Everything was drawn together beautifully in the end however.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Second time of reading. Enjoyed the pace, characters and the passion for books and a Book. Love the optimistic diversity too.Published 1 month ago by Ms E. R. Bush
In between the fiction this book, which is well written and user friendly, gives some insight into another culture and way of thinking. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jo- Do
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. As someone who likes to make books, this had an added interest.
Will certainly read others by this author.
A book restorer is called upon to restore the Sarajevo Haggadah (the book of the Jewish Passover story). Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andrea
A book that made you long for the time when Muslims Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully. In fact I found myself longing to travel and explore the journey made by the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jo Diffey
This is a wonderful, intricate book - as intricate as the ancient Jewish text which is at the heart of the story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Susan Purkiss