Fashion Book: People of the Book
I finished People of the Book last week and I’m so glad that I was able to read it after leaving it behind at a restaurant. (Thanks, Mallory!) Much like Nicole Krauss’ novel Great House, the novel revolves around an object–in this case, an ancient Jewish text, the haggadah. Hannah Heath is an Australian restorer of books who travels to Sarajevo during the Bosnian War in 1996 to restore the haggadah, a centuries-old Jewish text illustrated with gorgeous illuminations in a mysterious Christian style. In her examination of the book, she finds several clues which she hopes will help her better understand the origins and history of the book–a white hair, a salt crystal, a wine stain, an insect’s wing. These clues lead her on something of a global scavenger hunt, during which everything she knows about her own personal history is called into question. Interspersed with Hannah’s story are the stories of several characters, all of whom played a significant role in the creation and survival of the ancient book, each time bringing Hannah one step closer to understanding about the book and about herself.
If you like historical fiction, this is definitely an engaging and smart read. I was captivated all the way through.
Instead of creating a look based on one of the characters in the book, I decided to put something together based on the cover, which plays on color, a theme which runs throughout the book as the illustrations of the haggadah are rendered in rich colors like lappis lazuli and scarlet.