Drawing In the Dust
Brilliant archaeologist Page Brookstone has toiled at Israel’s storied battlegrounds of Megiddo for twelve years, yet none of the ancient remnants she has unearthed deliver the life-altering message she craves. Which is why she risks her professional reputation when a young Arab couple begs her to excavate beneath their home. Ibrahim and Naima Barakat claim the spirits of two lovers overwhelm everyone who enters with love and desire. As Page digs, she makes a miraculous discovery—the bones of the deeply troubled prophet Jeremiah locked in an eternal embrace with a mysterious woman. Buried with the entwined skeletons is a collection of scrolls that challenge centuries-old interpretations of the prophet’s story and create a worldwide fervor.
Caught in a forbidden romance of her own, and under siege from religious zealots and relentless critics, Page endangers her life to share the lovers’ story with the world. But in doing so, she discovers she must let go of her own painful past. Called a “zesty debut” by Kirkus Reviews, Zoë Klein’s historically rich novel is a lyrical and unexpected journey as poignant and thought-provoking as the beloved bestsellers The Red Tent and People of the Book.
Reading Group Guide
When called upon by a young Arab couple to investigate a cistern that lies beneath their home, Page Brookstone discovers more than she bargained for. The couple believes the cistern is the reason that the spirits of two lovers keep appearing in their home, while Page’s colleagues believe that the young couple are all but insane and that she should stay away. Page, however, takes the opportunity to investigate the site and discovers that, in fact, it is not a cistern, but a tomb. In it are the remains of an ancient Israelite, the prophet Jeremiah, buried alongside a woman who may have been his lover, and a set of scrolls that tell of their great love. In uncovering the mystery of a centuries-old romance that defies convention, Page could be onto the archaeological discovery of a lifetime. The findings also sets Page on a path of self-discovery, where she is forced to dig into long-buried issues from her own past, which along with a new and unexpected romance, reawaken her from the stupor in which she’s been living. Author Zoe Klein, who is also the youngest female congregational rabbi in the United States, elegantly blends fact and fiction with two appealing love stories; however, the novel also engages powerful questions of identity, family, discovery, politics, and sexuality with originality and subtlety.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
- The Bara