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Drawing In the Dust

Drawing In the Dust

  • reading group guide
UNFORGETTABLE DEBUT NOVEL IS A RICHLY EVOCATIVE AND BOUNDLESS LOVE STORY THAT REVERBERATES FROM BIBLICAL TIMES TO THE MODERN WORLD.

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.
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439117446 | 
  • May 2010
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Video

Join Rabbi Zoe Klein in Drawing in the Dust...

In this video Zoe Klein describes her passion for Judaism and the inspiration for her new novel.

Reading Group Guide

Drawing in the Dust
Zoe Klein

Summary

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

  1. The Bara
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About the Author

Zoe Klein
PhotosLA

Zoe Klein

ZOË KLEIN pursued the rabbinate out of a passion for ancient texts, mythology, liturgy and poetry. Zoë Klein has written for Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Tikkun. She has written chapters in a number of collections including The Women’s Torah Commentary and Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. Her poetry and prayers are used in houses of worship around the country and has appeared as a commentator on the History Channel in “Digging for the Truth.” She lives with her family, where she is the senior rabbi of a large congregation.

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