Draw­ing in the Dust

Zöe Klein

  • Review
By – December 22, 2011

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.

Discussion Questions