People of the Book

Geraldine Brooks

The new novel from the author of ‘March’ and ‘Year of Wonders’ takes place in the aftermath of the Bosnian War, as a young book conservator arrives in Sarajevo to restore a lost treasure.

When Hannah Heath gets a call in the middle of the night in her Sydney home about a precious medieval manuscript which has been recovered from the smouldering ruins of wartorn Sarajevo, she knows she is on the brink of the experience of a lifetime. A renowned book conservator, she must now make her way to Bosnia to start work on restoring The Sarajevo Haggadah, a Jewish prayer book – to discover its secrets and piece together the story of its miraculous survival. But the trip will also set in motion a series of events that threaten to rock Hannah’s orderly life, including her encounter with Ozren Karamen, the young librarian who risked his life to save the book.

As meticulously researched as all of Brooks’s previous work, ‘People of the Book’ is a gripping and moving novel about war, art, love and survival.

Reviews of People of the Book

    • ‘Even more compelling than the detective plot is the novel’s portrayal of the harrowing lives of its historical characters. Brooks is a compassionate writer. “People of the Book” is a powerful account of individual resistance to intolerance and the precious value of history. It is also a gripping story.’ TLS
    • ‘The epic themes of love and war are her preferred canvas and here she sets up multiple narrative strands to tell the turbulent story of this Haggadah. Anti–Semitism is the momentum propelling the book’s extraordinary journey forwards and Brooks evokes her various fraught historical–religious conflicts vividly.’ Metro
    • ‘Brooks’s extensive research is evident throughout.’ Scotsman
    • ‘Brooks expertly guides us to the conclusion that the world is made up of only two types of people: those who would destroy books and those who would give their lives to save them. This illuminating novel, like its predecessor, is well worthy of both Pulitzer and prime–time approbation.’ Simmy Richman, Independent on Sunday
    • ‘An irresistible subject, given urgency by its timeliness and poignancy by its paradoxicality: for the novel is based on the true story of an ancient Jewish codex saved from the fire by a Muslim librarian. Her performance will satisfy many readers.’ Guardian
    • ‘These stories have a raw and visceral power. The book is full of historical detail.’ F.T. Magazine
    • ‘Set to sweep the board with this moving tale of how an ancient copy of the Haggadah, a Jewish text, survives centuries of war, religious oppression and Nazi greed.’ Sainsbury’s Magazine, Book of the Month