Last night, with immense pleasure I was able to attend an event where I had the chance to hear celebrated guest author Geraldine Brooks speak and discuss her award winning masterpiece and international bestseller, People of the Book.
The Pulitzer Prize winning Brooks is a truly fascinating woman, an Australian-American journalist and author who grew up Catholic and experienced a calling at the age of fourteen to immerse herself in the study of other religions, Judaism in particular. After a period of Atheism she fell in love with and married fellow Pulitzer Prize recipient Tony Horwitz and eventually adopted his religion, thusly converting to Judaism. A Harvard fellowship recipient and former reporter for the Wall Street Journal who covered crisis after crisis in the Middle East, Brooks was even more engaging in person than she presents herself on the page.
People of the Book is Geraldine's fictionalized account tracing the journey of the Sarajevo Haggadah from its origins in Spain to the museum where it is now displayed in Sarajevo. One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah is a treasured relic that has survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all walks of faith - Muslims and Christians alike - who risked their lives to safeguard it.
I couldn't help but think about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict of today and it dawned on me that for centuries in Bosnia - Muslims, Christians and those practicing the Jewish faith all lived together, coexisting in harmony. It saddens me to pick up the newspaper every day, reading new reports of the never ending battles in the Middle East, but I do support the fact that Israel can no longer stand still. I question if peace can ever be declared, but it is vital that Israel push on and put an end to the constant fear, turmoil and abuse.
Academy Award winning actress Catherine Zeta Jones has recently acquired film rights for People of the Book, so it is only a matter of time before it's adapted for the big screen. If you haven't read this thrilling new work yet, I urge you to buy a hard copy or listen to the Audio Version of People of the Book from Audio Editions Books on Cassette & CD. Beautifully crafted, intricately researched and filled with religion, mystery and female heroism, People of the Book is a story that will take you on an adventure through five centuries of history while resonating and echoing the present battles taking place in the Middle East today.
| digg it!