The Di­a­mond Set­ter: A Novel

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - HAN­NAH WIL­LIAMS

Moshe Sakal Jes­sica Co­hen (Trans­la­tor) Other Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $15.95 (304pp) 978-1-59051-891-5

Moshe Sakal’s The Di­a­mond Set­ter is a spell­bind­ing saga of love and fam­ily se­crets. Char­ac­ters’ sto­ries over­lap, all con­nected by a fa­mous blue di­a­mond: Sabakh.

A hand­some young man, Fa­reed, smug­gles a piece of Sabakh across the bor­der from Da­m­as­cus to Jaffa, in hopes of re­turn­ing it to its orig­i­nal owner, and in good faith that he will dis­cover his roots and fam­ily her­itage along the way. His trav­els com­pletely al­ter the oth­er­wise sim­ple life of Me­nashe, a jew­eler from Tel Aviv. Dur­ing his stay in Jaffa, Fa­reed finds more than he an­tic­i­pated. He is is swept off his feet by an Is­raeli sol­dier, Honi, and his boyfriend, Tom.

The story fol­lows these char­ac­ters through their re­spec­tive fam­ily an­ces­tries in stride, delv­ing deep into the his­tory of the Mid­dle East. Writ­ing is lit­er­ary and ex­em­plary, with won­der­ful char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment and a de­lib­er­ate, cal­cu­lated pace. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Me­nashe and his nephew, Tom, is heart­warm­ing and strong, and the polyamorous re­la­tion­ship be­tween Tom, Honi, and Fa­reed adds an in­trigu­ing ro­man­tic el­e­ment.

The story is filled with a great deal of di­a­logue, cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere of an­ces­tral sto­ry­telling. The ma­jor char­ac­ters each have their own unique, au­then­tic voices. As the novel weaves be­tween var­i­ous char­ac­ters, Mid­dle Eastern his­tory, and an­ces­try, it can be dif­fi­cult to keep track of less dom­i­nant threads.

With its enig­mas, romance, and lit­er­ary takes on is­sues of im­mi­gra­tion and Mid­dle Eastern pol­i­tics, The Di­a­mond Set­ter is an art­ful re­minder that in some way or an­other, we are all linked to­gether.

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