People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks
I’d never read anything by Geraldine Brooks, but the premise of the story intrigued me. I’d read no reviews, and had no idea what to expect. I started this story with low expectations and mentally prepared to bail on it and go to something else if it didn’t grab me pretty quickly.
It grabbed me quickly, and held on through the entire story.
The story is a most excellent one, and Brooks does a tremendous job of painting characters that you can believe in and identify with. She masterfully weaves her tale back and forth through history, intertwining it perfectly with the life of the main character. Brooks is high on my list as an author that I want to read more of – I REALLY like how she writes.
The story is a fabricated “what if” history of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah. While the reader knows that both the back story (history of the book) and the main character (a book conservator/restorer) are fictional, they’re so well crafted I found myself wanting them to be real. Ms Brooks outstanding research on the times and people of which she writes makes the history lesson in itself worth the read. Moreover, the voices she pulls from the story seem so authentic I found myself impressed over and over as the story unfolded.
This was an Audible book for me. Listening to books, it’s common to find an author and story I like, but have the story ruined by poor narration. What a delight to experience this recording though, as the actress who does the narration (Edwina Wren) is the perfect physical voice for this story, and does an absolutely wonderful job. Ms Wren enhances and improves the telling of the story with her outstanding narration. This was one of the rare occasions where – after completing the book – I actually did a search for other books that Ms Wren has narrated. The only complaint I have with her narration is that she isn’t all that good with accents (beyond British, Aussie, and American). It’s such a tiny thing within the context of her whole performance that I still give her 5 stars on the narration.