Friday, March 20, 2009
By the Chapter, Day 5 - People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
It's the last day of this week's edition of By the Chapter, hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Be sure to stop by there today, also, as she will be posting her final thoughts on this week's novel.
This was an interesting book for me, coming on the heels of a story I was totally in love with. I definitely enjoyed People of the Book - it was a good choice for me at the time, because it was so different from what I had just finished. For the most part, I thought it was quite good.
The pacing of the novel was a little slow for me, at first, but by about halfway through I had adjusted to it. My biggest problem was the ending - I seem to quibble with endings quite a lot. This one seemed rushed, and the plot twist didn't seem to fit with the rest of the novel - like the author suddenly decided to turn the book into an espionage thriller. I didn't think she needed it, since she had already written quite a good book.
About 3/4 of the way through, I also got tired of the sections with Hanna. I understand why the author wanted to use Hanna in the plot - she was a device to tie all the disparate sections of the Haggadah's journey together. However, I ended up feeling like her sections of the book probably were not necessary, and just resulted in the ending, which I didn't like at all. I know other authors (I'm thinking Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue) have written a similar type of narrative, but without the modern-day componant, and the books worked well. Ultimately, I don't think she needed those sections.
I especially enjoyed the sections about the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah - it was interesting to see how the author managed to make a woman an integral part of the Haggadah's journey in each different section. I'm not sure how true to the actual history of the book that would be, but I always enjoy it when an author thinks up interesting ways to tell the stories of women who might have lived in a specific time. These were definitely the highlights of the book for me.
All in all, a good book. Thanks so much to Marcia for allowing me to co-host By the Chapter this week with her - I hope to do it again soon!
Source: my shelves