Thursday, March 19, 2009
By the Chapter, Day 4 - People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Welcome to day 4 of By the Chapter. This week, Marcia and I have been reading and discussing People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. You can catch up by reading my first post about it here, and by reading Marcia's posts here and here. Tomorrow, we will both be posting our final thoughts, so stay tuned!
I am currently just about 100 pages from the end of the novel, and by now I am completely hooked. While I find the sections that deal with Hanna and her work on the Haggadah interesting, by far my favorite parts are the bits of history the author gives us about the book.
The section with the priest and the rabbi in Venice was heartbreaking. Each man was so flawed, and yet trying to do their best to live up to the high standards expected of them. And the section about the Jewish family during the Inquisition was equally sad. Brooks must have done an incredible amount of research to bring such completely different periods of history to life. We almost know the true origins of the Haggadah now, and the trip this small book has taken has been remarkable.
Hanna's story is also interesting, although it doesn't carry the emotional impact, for me, that the other sections do. It is difficult for me to read about her troubled relationship with her mother. I'm lucky enough to have a loving, compassionate woman as my mother, so reading about the neglect Hanna received, the terrible secrets her mother kept, and the damage that both women have done to each other, is hard. I really miss Ozren, and hope he factors back into the story by the end.
I hope you've enjoyed traveling with us through the novel, and are as excited to reach the conclusion as I am!