Book Club selection for November 2010
About the book
This is the story of book conservationist, Hanna Heath and the book she goes to Bosnia to work on, a Haggadah. It is also the story of antisemitism in Europe from the 15th century until the present day.
I first read this book when it came out in 2006, and quite enjoyed it. When I sat down to read it, it felt like I was returning to an old friend. I find the writing easy to read and was comforted by familiar surroundings. I don't remember how I felt about it at the time. The story still draws me in. As well as Hanna's story there is the story of the Haggaadah, starting from the second world war and moving backwards to when the drawings were first created in 1465. The relationship between Hanna and her mother is intriguing. There isn't a satisfying answer to why her mother behaved the way she did towards her daughter, and there is no resolution to the distance they have.
As the book is about the art work, and how unusual it is to have an illustrated Jewish text like this, I think the book meets the criteria for all four of the challenges I'm doing this year - the 100+ challenge, Art History Challenge, Aussie Challenge and Bibliophilic Challenge.