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A dazzling debut novel about love, loss, and the courage it takes to start over.
It’s 1994 and Adam, a drug addict from New York City, arrives at a kibbutz in Israel with a medieval sapphire brooch. To redress a past crime, he must give the priceless heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz fifty years earlier. But first, he has to track this mystery woman downa task that proves more complicated than expected.
On the kibbutz Adam joins other lost souls: Ulya, the ambitious and beautiful Soviet émigrée; Farid, the lovelorn Palestinian farmhand; Claudette, the French Canadian Catholic with OCD; Ofir, the Israeli teenager wounded in a bus bombing; and Ziva, the old Socialist Zionist firebrand who founded the kibbutz. Driven together by love, hostility, hope, and fear, their fates become forever entangled as they each get one last shot at redemption.
In the middle of that fateful summer glows the magnificent brooch with its perilous history spanning three continents and seven centuries. With insight and beauty, Safekeeping tackles that most human of questions: How can we expect to find meaning and happiness when we know that nothing lasts?
Jessamyn Hope grew up in Montreal and lived on her cousin’s kibbutz in Israel before moving to New York City. Chapters from Safekeeping have appeared in Descant Magazine and Green Mountains Review, which nominated her for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. She was invited to be the Susannah McCorkle Scholar in Fiction at the 2012 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Hope's stories and personal essays have appeared in Five Points, Colorado Review, Harpur Palate, Prism International, and Ploughshares, which nominated her for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Hope has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and teaches writing at Grub Street. She can be found online at jessamynhope.com. She lives in New York City.