Jill said, "I just finished People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. While this book had many settings, I chose this book for Yugoslavia because I feel that it's a wonderful testiment to the multi-cultural city of Sarajevo and hope that the war wounds will continue to heal for this beautiful city. Here is my review.
The setting for People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is Europe, as the author takes us to places as far apart as Sarajevo and Seville, as close as Vienna and Venice. But Jill is right: most of it is set in Sarajevo, which is currently the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was formerly part of Yugoslavia, which no longer exists. (Wow, is that sentence convoluted enough, or what?) Here's the story:
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding — an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair — she begins to unlock the book's mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book's journey from its salvation back to its creation.
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siècle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city's rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah's extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna's investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.
This book is being discussed now, during March, on the Book Buddies blog.