Nine Parts of Desire has a new Afterword.
It is now more than a decade since I sat in a tiny study in London, writing the last chapter of this book. In that conclusion, I evaluated the call by the Shiite cleric Ali Allawi for Westerners to disassociate Islam from the “background noise” of prejudice and dire social practice in so many Islamic regimes.
On September 11, 2001, that background noise became a roar. That morning, I woke to the news in a hotel room in Portland, Oregon, about as far as one could be from the dust and flame of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center and still be in the continental United States. I was on a speaking tour for my first novel, Year of Wonders. After years of toiling through the hardwood forests of contemporary fact, I had turned to historical fiction as an alternate way to explore questions of faith and idealism, and how human beings cope with catastrophe.Read More»
You can hear an interview with Geraldine as she discusses People of the Book on NPR. People of the Book traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia.
A double rescue in wartime Sarajevo.
By Geraldine Brooks
When the Axis powers conquered and divided Yugoslavia, in the spring of 1941, Sarajevo did not fare well. The city cradled by mountains that Rebecca West once described as like “an opening flower” suddenly found itself absorbed into the Nazi puppet state of Croatia, its tolerant, cosmopolitan culture crushed by the invading German Army and the Croatian Fascist Ustashe. Hitler’s ally, Ante Pavelic, who had headed the Ustashe through the nineteen-thirties, proclaimed that his new state must be “cleansed” of Jews and Serbs: “Not a stone upon a stone will remain of what once belonged to them.”Read More»