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May 16, 2009
Author Review: Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks is a Pulitzer Prize winning contemporary author who has written 3 works of historical fiction which all tell detailed stories of survival. Born and raised in Australia she currently lives in the USA. All her books challenge the reader with interesting moral questions. Through her characters, Brooks examines the challenges of self identity when surrounded by death and conflict. Her writing talent is superb and her themes deep.
Year of Wonders (2001) traces a young woman who looses all her loved ones to the plague in a 17th century small English village. The rector convinces the villagers to isolate themselves in order to stop the spread of the disease. As the protagonist struggles to find the will to keep living, she learns that the survival of her own soul is linked to that of the others in the village. It is a story of courage and human dignity in the face of death, disease and superstition.
March (2005) is the story of Little Women's Mr. March, the absent father who is a chaplain in the American civil war. As an idealist faced with the moral challenges of war time and the disillusionment of his own human frailties, Mr. March grapples with his own internal demons as much as how to give moral comfort to the soldiers he serves.
People of the book (2008) imagines the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated Hebrew passover manuscript. As it is being restored by an expert, the manuscript yields various clues which trace the journey that it has taken through history. Not only does Brooks chronicle the amazing survival of this early text, but she tells the stories of people who risked their own lives and careers to ensure its safety. Once again Brooks gives voice to important questions of survival, as she writes about conflicting faiths and traditions.