The Fam­i­ly Diamond

Edward Schwarz­schild
  • Review
By – March 23, 2012
This sparkling yet touch­ing sto­ry col­lec­tion, set in the Philadel­phia envi­rons, cel­e­brates fam­i­ly in all its messy glo­ry. Rela­tion­ships are exam­ined, ana­lyzed, and mined for trea­sure, some­times buried deep. There’s the father whose need for atten­tion from his son bor­ders on obses­sive. There are the sis­ter and broth­er who, in fac­ing the death of their moth­er, try to under­stand one another’s choic­es. There are sev­er­al affect­ing tales of sib­ling rival­ry as well as one of a young boy try­ing to pro­tect his father from being beat­en by a thug over a busi­ness deal gone wrong. The pain of rela­tion­ships is pal­pa­ble here, but so are the joy and the trust and the love. The sto­ries are linked by theme, cul­ture, and geog­ra­phy as well as by a num­ber of recur­ring char­ac­ters who seem to change and grow in the spaces between one sto­ry and the next. The most fre­quent­ly recur­ring char­ac­ters are Charles and Mil­dred Dia­mond, and the author man­ages, in spite of the short sto­ry for­mat, to draw a por­trait of the cou­ple using per­spec­tive and depth, allow­ing us glimpses of Charles’ father and of his grand­son as the fam­i­ly his­to­ry unfolds. It’s an inter­est­ing and quirky col­lec­tion, alto­geth­er earth-bound and real­is­tic until one unex­pect­ed mag­i­cal, shin­ing moment at the very end that per­haps defines hap­pi­ly-ever-after for all of us.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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