1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An engrossing, informative read,
This review is from: People of the Book (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The old Greek Tragedy approach to drama calls for unity of time, place and action. Things have moved on a lot since then, although the TV series "24" has found power in that old formula. By contrast, Geraldine Brooks' "People of the Book" spins a tale that spans many centuries, four continents and many stories. The uniting element is the book of the title.
The question is: Has the author's gamble with the narrative paid off to deliver a great book? And my equivocal answer to that is, yes and no.
Yes, because she scores brilliantly on the mood and detail of the various locations and times. Each one could be a short story in itself. The period and technical detail never get in the way of the humanity of the writing.
No, because the jumps in time and place hobble the narrative momentum; there's a lot of stopping and starting, which I found made for a bumpy read.
It's also a painful and harrowing read at times. The author is a journalist who has spent time in the midst of suffering, and she's got a real knack for evoking it. There are all the poor unfortunates through the history of the eponymous book, but even the main human protagonist is a woman of lifelong suffering.
I'm glad I read the book but I would recommend it only to people who are after a serious read.