Thursday, October 29, 2009
Children of the Book
I just finished Children of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. A fascinating story that covers five centuries of history, the novel follows a Hebrew haggadah, an illuminated manuscript, that was fearlessly defended by an odd cast of characters in history -- for example, a Catholic priest during the Spanish Inquisition and a young Jewish girl during the Nazi occupation of Sarajevo.
This was a complicated story -- the central character Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book expert, gets a look at the manuscript in war torn Bosnia and determines to unlock the mysteries of the book's travels. Within the historical document, she comes across wine and blood stains, a butterfly wing, and cat hair. She seeks experts in the field to help determine what these particular articles tell about the book's travels.
The parallel stories involved the "children of the book" -- as Brooks writes, "The different hands that had made it, used it, and protected it." These stories highlighted the "children" who had been a part of its journey and participated in its ultimate rescue.
Brooks is a master storyteller. I enjoyed it thoroughly. :)