Drawing in the Dust
Page Brookstone, the narrator of Zöe Klein’s debut novel, Drawing in the Dust, is a senior archaeologist at Megiddo contemplating unresolved issues in her own life as she tries to read the stories in the bones she finds. With few outlets for her sensuality and passion, Page has become the unhappy victim of a self-centered academic in charge of the dig, but when a Palestinian couple asks her to investigate spirits haunting their house, Page throws professional caution aside. With the help of a group of colorful volunteers, she uncovers the tomb of the prophet Jeremiah, interred in the arms of Anatiya, whose scroll, preserved nearby, reveals a story of delirious, forbidden love. From there, the story spins off in a number of ways, skillfully interwoven by the author. A parallel plot emerges, as the spirits of Anatiya and Jeremiah subtly work to kindle equally forbidden passion between Page, who is Christian, and an Orthodox Jewish archaeologist. As academic and religious groups vie to control the bones and scroll, violence and treachery lead to a climax as incendiary as any Biblical prophesy. A satisfying, smart read by a rabbi with a longstanding affinity for Jeremiah. Good choice for book clubs.
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