Jennifer Reese
December 14, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

People of the Book

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Geraldine Brooks
publisher
Viking
genre
History, Fiction

We gave it a B

Hanna Heath is a brainy rare-books expert summoned to Sarajevo to study a 500-year-old Hebrew manuscript that turned up after the ’90s Bosnian war in People of the Book. Geraldine Brooks recounts Hanna’s scholarly attempts to trace the volume’s history, and in alternating chapters, dramatizes that history, following it backward in time from WWII-era Yugoslavia to 17th-century Venice to the Spanish Inquisition. The peripatetic tome embodies the long interrelationship — sometimes fruitful, often fraught — between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. But too often, you sense Brooks behind the scenes, pulling strings. B

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