This is an extraordinary history of a Jewish prayer book. As an archivist is repairing the book, she finds unexpected things in the binding: a granule of salt, a wine stain, a fragment of a butterfly wing. As she discovers these items, the reader sees the story of their introduction into the book. Unlike anything I've ever read, the images in this book are sharp and sometimes unbearable. Despite the horror, this is an amazing, beautiful, fabulous book. When my store asked its employees for their three best books of the decade, it was one of my picks. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated prayer book through centuries of war, destruction, theft, loss, and love.
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, this is the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war. In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding--an insect-wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair--she begins to unlock the book's mysteries. The listener is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book's journey from its salvation back to its creation. Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of both sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity and is an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author.