Geraldine Brooks finds mystery in an ancient text

Geraldine Brooks
Pulitzer prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks first learned about the Sarajevo Haggadah when she was covering the conflict in Bosnia. Now it's become the basis for her new novel.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

When Geraldine Brooks covered the Bosnian crisis for the Wall Street Journal, she became fascinated by the disappearance of the Sarajevo Haggadah.

The Haggadah is a brilliantly hand-illuminated medieval text, designed to be read by a Jewish family during the celebration of Passover.

The book was one of the most prized in the National Library of Sarajevo.

Then one day, one of the librarians, a Muslim, revealed he'd risked his life during a bombardment to save the book.

Brooks told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr that the story of the book's return, and its history, launched what was to become her new novel, "People of the Book."

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.