Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Drawing in the Dust"

Zoë Klein received ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. She has written articles for numerous publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Tikkun, and Torat Hayim, and 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. Rabbi Klein serves as the spiritual leader of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her novel Drawing in the Dust, and reported the following:
Out of curiosity, when I received this assignment, I decided to check page 69 of my copy of the Bible, and found chapter 43 in Genesis when the famine is severe and Joseph’s brothers are deciding whether to return to Egypt to procure food. A transitional page, however with sacred literature, no word is considered less significant than any other.

I turned to page 69 in my novel, Drawing in the Dust, and found a transitional moment. American archaeologist Page Brookstone is a bit world-weary. None of the ancient remnants she has unearthed during her twelve years of toiling at Israel’s storied battlegrounds of Megiddo has delivered the life-altering message she so craves. Which is why the story of Ibrahim and Aisha Barakat, a young Arab couple who implore Page to excavate the grounds beneath their house in Anatot, instantly intrigues her.

The Barakats claim the ghosts of two lovers haunt their home, overwhelming everyone who enters with love and desire. Page investigates the site, where she is seduced by an undeniable force, but runs from it.

On page 69, Ibrahim calls Page in her hotel in Jerusalem, and is telling her that he had begun jackhammering through his living room floor himself, when the jackhammer plummeted down two stories. On this page he describes the room he’s discovered and she realizes that it must be a cistern.

Eventually, Page, who is caught in a forbidden romance of her own, will make a miraculous discovery in this place – the bones of the deeply troubled prophet Jeremiah locked in an eternal embrace with a mysterious woman named Anatiya. Buried with the entwined skeletons is a collection of Anatiya’s scrolls, whose mystical words challenge centuries-old interpretations of the prophet’s story and create a worldwide fervor that threatens to silence the truth about the lovers forever.
Browse inside Drawing in the Dust, and learn more about the book and author at Zoë Klein's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue