People of the Book (Uncorrected Bound Proof)
1 journaler for this copy...
Received through the Amazon Vine programme, so expect a review shortly.
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I enjoyed Geraldine Brooks’ The People of the Book, I really did. Centring on the story of an ancient manuscript which has come to light in the war-torn former Yugoslavia, the story rushes headlong from modern day Australia, to Sarajevo in 1940, to medieval Venice, to Barcelona two hundred years, earlier, back to a modern America and London. The narrative gushes out, forcefully drive out by intrigue and ever-entwined mysteries and stories: a literary travelogue of a book and its keepers which leaves the reader breathless – and at times appalled by the cruelty man inflicts on man for the flimsiest of reasons. This is not a book that ducks the big issues. Yet, there are flaws: at times Brooks’ writing feels more like a science or natural history textbook and the characters are, for the most part, two-dimensional and stereotypical. And while the scope of the novel is shaped by the trauma of euro-centric human conflict over the last several hundred years, scathing superficiality results in little illumination. In the end, an intriguing plot, an interesting idea and lots of pluck are all this novel has to offer – and that’s no small achievement – but its lack of character development, its predictable resolution and its lack of insight mean that the only things differentiate The People of Book from your average airport thriller are its literary pretensions and its generous length.