This is a fabulous book. A wonderful thread of history from 15th-16th century North Africa, Spain, and Italy to 19th century Vienna to 20th century Bosnia and Australia. The story is intricate, and bounces around between time frames, but it is written well enough that you don't get lost (unless you don't listen for a week or two, then you may have to rewind). The characters are all interesting--almost too interesting, I wanted to hear more of each of their stories.
I would have given this book 5 stars, but the narration sometimes distracted from the story. I guess if you don't speak any Hebrew or German, the fact that she can't EVER get the accent on the right syllable, wouldn't bother you, but it drove me crazy. (BTW, it's HagGADdah, not HAGgaddag and it's the SheMA, not the SHEma--I mean, paleeze! Also, Liebchen is pronounced leeb-SHIN, not leeb-KIN.) I don't speak Serbo-Croatian, Spanish or Arabic, so if there were mistakes there I didn't notice them.
However, that caveat should not keep you from listening to this book. Overall, the narration is fine, just some minor things that had me correcting her mistakes out loud!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I read People of the Book several years ago - a borrowed book - and early last year listened to Geraldine's new novel Caleb's Crossing.
I have gone back to People of the Book as the story is utterly fascinating - now hearing the book all I can say is Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant.
The story is engaging. The narrator, Edwina Wren, adds deep colour to the story with carefully chosen accents and a light yet entrancing tone that enriches this favourite book of mine.
The story, what has happened to this Jewish tome over the last 500 years, a story told by the conservator and the characters of the Book's journey since it was prepared, examines an illuminated manuscript when Jewish lore insisted that illumination is not appropriate.
A rich tapestry, I write this before I have finished Part 2 - I just couldn't wait to encourage others to buy People of the Book.
Exceptional author and hugely entertaining narrator. This is one of those books where it is fair to say, "a must have".
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book could have been so much better. The format was promising and it is clearly well researched but the central character is irritating and superficial. I became engrossed in the historical fiction which was fascinating. I'd have given the story 4 stars if Brooks had left out the present day nonsense with it's angst and contrived love affair. As for the ending, well, don't get me started on that! The whole thing reads like a screenplay-hence the title of this review. The narration is mediocre. At times, Wren's depiction of the characters is irritating but it wasn't enough to stop me listening.
Where does People of the Book rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This would rate as one of my best loved books - audio or hardcopy - sumptuous!
I could not /cannot wait to recommend this book.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Delightful changes in time and character - with such perfect balance between fact and fiction.
Which character – as performed by Edwina Wren – was your favorite?
I have to say she gave all characters depth and distinction - she is really outstanding in this book, given the range of nationalities.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Any additional comments?
I just want to spread the word - this is a fantastic work.
This book to me seemed to keep my interest to the end but it was a bit hard to keep hold of the different strings to the plot. It seemed to need a little tightening up.Certain parts of the process of book conservation was very illuminating and educational indeed. At times, I enjoyed those aspects of it rather than the story.
"Into One Grain, there come a hundred harvests
In a single heart is a whole world contained."
This beautiful verse opens one of the chapters of the amazing (hi)story about Sarajevo Haggadah written by Geraldine Brooks. The novel, though fictional, tells the enchanting story of one of the most important manuscripts of Jewish Mediaeval art of book making. The book, valued today at about 700 million US dollars, remains in Sarajevo's National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is a very good reading, particularly in the time of Passover - what was my case in 2009...
The story evolves in fascinating way - it is written in the reverse time order. We go with the narrator back into history, and at any moment we see how the PAST imprinted its mark on the PRESENT. And as we go deeper into the past, the more fascinated and mysterious the story is.
Beyond the narration, the message behind the book is about tolerance and cohabitations of all three great Abrahamic religions. The oldest story in the book comes from the famous Convivencia period in Spain's history - almost 800 years of relative tolerance between Muslims, Jews and Christians. The book tells also the story of 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain and their migrations through Europe....
I must, however, admit that there is something in the book that puts some shadow on the authors's intentions or something I could call "good taste". I do not want to spoil it for the future readers, so I will stay mute about it. I must only say, that at some places of the book author went into a kind of storytelling that leaves a taste of distaste to say the least. I hope she (Brooks) did not go there because of the need of XXI century mass readers ....
I will not write what I have in mind, though.
If you want to know, ask me (find my blog "sopekmir" via google and write there). I will tell you in private....