Massachusetts—by way of Australia—author Geraldine Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006 for “March, ” an intelligent and moving epic about the March girls’ father (yes, from Alcott’s “Little Women”) and his experience during the Civil War. Brooks got her start working as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal—the story for her newest novel, “People of the Book,” came when she was covering the Bosnian war and learned of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a book that features the traditional text of the Passover Haggadah and has survived, incredibly, since the fifteenth century. Through the eyes of a rare book expert (must be a fun job) who’s hired to analyze a precious text that’s recently survived a bombing in Sarajevo, Brooks documents, with enviable passion, the piece’s travels and the hands that over time protected it, cherished it and kept it from harm. Mysterious and ambitious, “People of the Book” is a winner. (Tom Lynch)
Geraldine Brooks discusses “People of the Book” January 23 at Newberry Library, 60 West Walton, (312)943-9090, at 6pm. Free.