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The Good Deed

By Helen Benedict

 Red Hen Press (April 9, 2024)

About The Project

“A stark, powerful portrait of women on opposite sides of a refugee camp in Greece: the refugees trapped inside, and the troubled American tourist whose good intentions morph into a dangerous delusion. The result is a poignant, layered novel on displacement and belonging, love and betrayal, and the jagged space between altruism and egoism.

—Dalia Sofer, author of The​ Septembers of Shiraz and Man of My Time


Set in 2018 against the backdrop of an overcrowded, fetid refugee camp on the beautiful Greek island of Samos, The Good Deed follows the stories of five women living in the camp and an American tourist who comes to Samos to escape her own dark secret. When the tourist does a “good deed,” she triggers a crisis that brings her and the refugee women into a conflict that escalates dramatically as each character struggles for what she needs.


The Good Deed springs directly from the years of research and interviews with asylum seekers Benedict conducted for her nonfiction book, Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece, along with her co-author Syrian writer and refugee Eyad Awwadawnan. That book earned a PEN grant for literary oral history and praise from The New York Times, The Guardian and Kirkus Reviews, as well as authors Jessica Bruder, Nomadland, Dina Nayari, The Ungrateful Refugee, and Christy Lefteri, The Beekeeper of Aleppo.





“Written with immense sensitivity and depth of knowledge and understanding, The Good Deed is an essential read of our times. Captivating, revealing, and insightful, the novel is vividly and beautifully written, taking us to the heart of these women’s experiences, their external and internal journeys, showing us the reality of what it means to be a refugee, the devastation, loss and trauma, but also the strength and


—Christy Lefteri, author of Songbirds and The Beekeeper of Aleppo

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About the Authors

Helen Benedict, a British-American professor at Columbia University, is the author of seven novels, including Wolf Season, which the Library Journal called “a book that deserves the widest attention,” and Sand Queen, named Best Contemporary War Novel by Publishers Weekly. Her novels have received citations for best book of the year from the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago and New York public libraries. 


Benedict has been writing about refugees and war for years, including the 2022 nonfiction Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece, which garnered the 2021 PEN Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History, the Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus, and a number of awards for social justice journalism.


Benedict is also the author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, which helped to inspire a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of those sexually assaulted in the military and the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Invisible War. For more information, visit


TITLE: The Good Deed by Helen Benedict

PUBLISHER: Red Hen Press

PUB DATE: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 978-1636281124

PAPERBACK: 304 Pages; $19.95



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