It's 1994, and Adam, a drug addict from New York City, arrives at a kibbutz in Israel with a medieval sapphire brooch. To make up for a past crime, he needs to get the priceless heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz 50 years earlier. There Adam joins other troubled people trying to turn their lives around: Ulya, the ambitious and beautiful Soviet emigre; 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 Zionist Socialist firebrand who founded the kibbutz. By the end of that summer, through their charged relationships with one another, they each get their last chance at redemption.
©2014 Jessamyn Hope (P)2015 Dreamscape Media, LLC
"There is no writer whose first novel I have awaited more eagerly than Jessamyn Hope, and Safekeeping surpasses my expectations. It's a brilliant and captivating novel about the past, the present, and the future, about love and legacy, and it is written with Hope's singular blend of intelligence, clarity, and grace. I am very happy it is finally here among us." (Peter Cameron, author of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and Coral Glynn)
"A summer on a kibbutz; a disparate cast of characters torn by their own past lives and the inescapable burdens of history; a plot driven by a valuable gold brooch crafted by a master goldsmith in the Middle Ages: from these seemingly ordinary materials Jessamyn Hope has wrought something wonderful. I don't mean simply that her plot is compelling, utterly lucid, and deeply resonant, which it is; or that her troubled characters are created with both deep compassion and clear-eyed skepticism, which they are; or even that she writes brilliantly, which she does. What's most wonderful about Safekeeping is the author's uncanny sense of how much of the world can be understood by keen attention to its smallest particulars, and how meaningfulness will multiply when you refuse to force upon the reader your own personal meanings. Like the exquisite gold brooch that shimmers emblematically at its center, Safekeeping seems to glow with a rich patina of timelessness, the sign of true art. Listen, do yourself a huge favor, read this book." (Mark Dintenfass, author of Old World, New World and A Loving Place)
"In Safekeeping, Jessamyn Hope explores the manifold contradictions of the people drawn to Israel as elegantly as the medieval jeweler who designed the heirloom brooch that dramatically catalyzes her plot. Both passionate and compassionate, the novel is a joy to read." (Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of After: A Novel and editor of Nothing Makes You Free)
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"Great book-narration needs a better producer"
I really enjoyed listening to this book and sorting out all the angst, desire, values and importance of all the characters, flawed as they may be. The history lesson about the times on an Israeli kibbutz were so interesting and the narration was good. But, about the narrator, who has done so many other books well--perhaps the people involved should actually TRY for five minutes to make a note of foreign words in Hebrew or Yiddish and ask someone to pronounce it for the poor woman. She so mangles the words that it takes you right out of the narrative and makes you laugh. I can't imagine who told her to pronounce the famous deli favorite "kasha varnishkes" the way she did repetitively (it was Zayde's favorite food), or what the heck she was saying when she had to say "the Jewish Agency" in Hebrew--the "Sochnut", which is admittedly unusual, but, really, there are so many ways to just ask somebody!
This book was well-written and engaging and I look forward to other books by this author.
"Better for reading than listening"
A terrific story that reminded me of my young adult adventures on a kibbutz and living in Israel. I would give it a higher rating but the audio version was not good. The reader mispronounced almost every Hebrew and Yiddish word (and other languages as well!). Even commonly known words. She obviously had no coaching at all. One is taken out of the story with every mispronounced word (sometimes it was just the inflections that rendered the word wrong). Read this book, don't listen to it.
"It was kind of disappointing"
I hated the characters and there was never growth or renewal of life except for one character the rest were just jerks and I never even knew what happened to the main character in the end. Felt like I must have missed a whole section of the book. really disappointed.
"Moving and meaningful"
I found this book an accurate and touching account. The characters were true to varied national and cultural modes. The Russian, the Israelis, the Irish the Palestinian and New Yorker characters were portrayed with great depth and realism. I highly recommend Safekeeping.
"overall decent, but narrator wasn't very authenti"
narrator should have dine assume research on pronunciation of common israeli and Jewish words and phrases.
"Unsatisfied with Ending"
The first half of the novel was very good, but overall I was disappointed.
I enjoyed this book until the end. Why did the author spent time developing the characters only to leave me anxious to know how they fared outside of the kibbutz?
I always prefer an Audible book and this reader did not disappoint.
many of the Yiddish and Hebrew words were mispronounced by the narrator. in my opinion that is very tacky. additionally I didn't feel that the ending of the story resolved some of the conflicts within the story. totally disappointed.
"Ending was suspect"
I loved it up til the end. A bit disappointed. I wanted more. Left feeling a bit unsatisfied.
"One - only one! complaint"
Ms. Potter does marvelous work but every time she is called upon to pronounce a "Jewish" word - "mezzuzah", "Shoah", "kasha varnishkes" - it's like chalk on a blackboard. She accents the wrong syllable relentlessly. (Nu, there are no Jews at Dreamscape Media?)
But don't let that stop you. This is a terrific novel read wonderfully.
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