Sunday, May 03, 2009

Book 47: People of the Book

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

I wasn't sure if I'd like this book - the only reason I'd ever heard of this author is because she wrote March, and I've never been into Little Women (then again, I've never read it). I also was a litte skeptical when I noticed the comment "based on a true story" on the front cover of the book. As far as that is concerned, there really is a book called the Sarajevo Haggadah which has survived through several centuries and countries but none of the people were real. I was actually surprised by just how entertaining and good this novel was.

Generally, when I read novels with flashbacks to the past and different characters, I prefer the past to the present, and can't wait for the author to get done with the more current character and back to the past. In this novel, while I definitely enjoyed the flashbacks (the first and last two probably being my favorites, and the Venice one my least favorite), I also found myself looking forward to returning to Hanna Heath, the book conserver. Brooks makes Heath's job sound interesting, and also develops the complicated mother-daughter relationship rather well. The only part of the novel that I felt was a misstep was towards the end, adding an extra twist of mystery and intrigue when it wasn't necessary. However, it was small enough that it didn't affect my overall feeling for the book which was overall a pleasant surprise.

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