02 December 2008

People of the Book

I just finished this book today, and I have to say I found it utterly enchanting. I started listening to the audio version on my way to and from Chicago two weeks ago, but ran out of road before running out of book. Since my iPod is kaput at the moment, I wasn't able to finish the audio version, so on Monday I checked out the print copy from our local library to finish it.
The advantage of well-done audiobooks is that the characterizations can lend an even more authentic voice to the author's script. The woman performing the audio version of People of the Book did exactly that: she nailed nearly every accent, in my opinion. There are many: an Aussie conservator, a Bosnian librarian, a Scottish imam who works for the U.N. (yes, that's right), an Israeli conservator and many others. I found myself missing the voice as I finished the book.
The story itself is utterly enchanting. Hanna Heath is called to Sarajevo to examine a recently recovered Seder Haggadah, and in the course of her work the author fills in the back story of the Haggadah and the signs and clues to its history. Well written, exquisitely detailed, but not nearly so copious and elaborate as, say, Umberto Eco or Neal Stephenson (who are excellent writers in their own right, mind you). This is good reading for everyone, even if you've no interest in learning how vellum is made or the history of Carnivale in Seville before the Inquisition. To sum up, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Now, off to something new!


  1. I agree 100%. Great book.

    Her first, March, is also excellent.

  2. On my list--also really like March, but it's not her first. Year of Wonders is. Also a good one.