The bestselling novel that follows a rare manuscript through centuries of exile and war, from the author of The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. Called "a tour de force" by the San Francisco Chronicle, this ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding--an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair--only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultranationalist fanatics.
- ISBN-13: 9780143115007
- ISBN-10: 0143115006
- Publisher: Penguin Books
- Publish Date: December 2008
- Dimensions: 7.76 x 5.06 x 0.69 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.58 pounds
- Page Count: 416
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
People of the Book
Brooks, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of March (2005), blends mystery and history in this splendid novel. At the center of the story is an actual Jewish religious work called the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the first texts of its kind to feature illuminated images. The volume endured several centuries' worth of religious conflicts and wars due to the vigilance of a brave group of individuals, who endangered their lives in order to preserve it. This fascinating fictionalization of the Haggadah's survival features Hanna Heath, a rare-books specialist in Sarajevo who is working to restore the text. Over the course of her labors, Hanna finds that the book reveals clues about itself and its background. Through small discoveries in the volumea wine stain, a strand of hair, some salt crystalsHanna is able to research the text's mysteries from a scientific standpoint. But these efforts only serve to lead her deep into sinister territory. In addition to Hanna's spine-tingling discoveries about the Haggadah, readers are treated to accounts of critical incidents in its remarkable history, which are presented in the form of short, beautifully crafted chapters. The Haggadah's story is compelling in itself, yet Brooks fleshes out the narrative many clever elements of suspense and an appealing love story. Complex yet wonderfully readable, this is first-rate literary fiction.
A reading group guide is included in the book.