In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, which was rescued during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in ...
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, which was rescued during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in the book's ancient binding, she begins to unlock its mysteries, tracing the book's journey from its salvation back to its creation. In Bosnia during WW II, a Muslim risks his life to protect the book from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in a struggle against the city's rising anti-Semitism. In Inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it. Hanna's investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.
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I couldn't wait to turn the page. It is a well written, wonderful journey. I also recommend other words by this author, Geraldine Brooks and her husband, Tony Horwitz.
Apr 26, 2012
The history is well-researched and excellent. The romantic aspects of the plot a bit sappy. Brooks' background as a journalist usually stands her in good stead. Liked other books of hers better. My book group read it and were pretty well in accord about this book.
Sep 7, 2011
Fantastic Historical Fiction
This book is about the people, who possibly illuminated, wrote and protected the Sarajevo Haggadah, through its history. Believed to have been written it 15th century Spain, it now resides in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
The story starts with a rare book expert Hanna, who is hired to analyze and catalog the manuscript, she finds within the binding several artifacts, an insect wing, wine stains, salt and a white hair. From there the book goes back in time to how each of these items may have come to end up in the book. The chapters alternate between present day (1996) to the years that these items may have come to be. A very rich and vivid history of the religions of these times Jewish, Islamic & Christian, how at times they existed in harmony and others at in total war.
Dec 16, 2010
Transport yourself across 500 years
A wonderful journey from the perspective of many voices A great read.
Aug 8, 2010
loved reading a fresh idea
i really enjoyed this book. frequently we read the same stories over and over again. this was a historical fiction presented in a new way and what might have been. the story was well crafted and hard to put down
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