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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Geraldine Brooks On The Radio

I've spent today off work, resting my right arm, due to a trigger finger which was injected on Tuesday. I've tried to avoid using it, so have been reading... with one hand.

Now I'm listening to an interview with Geraldine Brooks, the Aussie historical novelist who now lives in the U.S., talking about her wonderful novels. I still haven't read The Secret Chord(King David) and my copy of Caleb's Crossing(17th century America, with the first Native American to graduate from Harvard) is lying around somewhere in the house, not sure where. But I loved the three I have read - Year Of Wonders, March and People Of The Book. I borrowed the last from my library, but have just downloaded my own copy. She was talking about the research she did, including asking a conservator how you could, say, tell the difference between kosher and non kosher wine stains and having him show her, and the bizarre but true story of the brave Muslim librarian who saved the Sarajevo Haggadah from the Nazis, who wanted it for a post war Jewish theme park, by smuggling it out under his coat and hiding it in a mosque.

March was about the story of Little Women as seen by Mr March, but really about Louisa May Alcott's over the top father. truth really can be weirder than fiction and Mr Alcott was quite a colourful character.

Year Of Wonders was set in a small village in England during the seventeenth century plague. Again, wonderful! I like how she can handle different eras in different countries.

People Of The Book was about the Sarajevo Haggadah, in a style that reminded me of James A Michener's The Source, with a present day frame and individual stories set in different centuries of the book's existence, explaining all the different stains found on it by the modern conservator who is the heroine.

I'm off to reread it now, before getting the King David book. 

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