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Cover of The Diamond Lane

Karen Karbo

The Diamond Lane

  • Introduction by Jane Smiley
  • fiction
  • ISBN 978-0-9893604-4-9

Reluctantly back home in L.A. after sixteen years in Africa, documentary filmmaker Mouse FitzHenry longs for the harsh, teeming jungle life her dark lens took in so lovingly. Wrenched stateside by a family emergency, with her longtime boyfriend/collaborator in tow, Mouse is instantly beleaguered by a past she’d leapt continents to escape and a present she can only face armed by reels of celluloid.

In this rollicking second novel, Karbo reveals familiar subjects—the phony glitz of Hollywood, the fairy-tale lure of love and marriage—with precision, compassion and humor as if we are seeing them for the very first time. Mouse’s paramour Tony, a Brit who calls her “poppet,” adores L.A. and all that it can do for him and for his screenplay, Love Among the Elephants. “Based on a true story” about their courtship in Africa, the script has been given the go-ahead by a producer who insists on dubbing it Love Among Gorillas. Mouse, meanwhile, caving in to maternal pressure, agrees to marry Tony and then proceeds, with the help of an old flame, to film around her unwitting fiancé a documentary on the entire process of their betrothal called Wedding March. A flawless, page-turning story emerges as Mouse and Tony manage—often with hilarious subterfuge— to keep their projects secret from one another. With its laugh-aloud moments and a cast of brilliantly drawn characters, this is a tale to treasure.


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Praise for The Diamond Lane

A flawless, page-turning story…With its laugh aloud moments and a cast of brilliantly drawn characters, this is a tale to treasure.

Publishers Weekly

A wonderfully comic novel about savvy Hollywood outsiders trying to get in… not only is the plot ingenious, but the writing remains deft all the way through.

The New York Times

It is a testament to Karbo’s skill at high comedy that the ending of this book - a funeral rather than a wedding - leaves you smiling.

The New Yorker

This astringent, humorous novel tackles two subjects ripe for satire: the Hollywood movie industry and marriage - both notoriously fickle institutions requiring blind hope to sustain life.

The Los Angeles Times

This kind of novel is a devil to pull off…and Ms. Karbo has done her job brilliantly.

The New York Times Book Review

Karbo’s story is timeless, and her writing is seamless. She is a keen, wry observer of the hazards of Hollywood and marriage and the fraught relationships between lovers, mothers and daughters and sisters. Filled with sharp characterizations and laugh-out-loud scenes, Karbo’s early ‘90s-era novel proves that, in the right literary hands, the comedic absurdities of life never go out of style.

Shelf Talker: This smart early ‘90s-era comedy of manners about familial, romantic and Hollywood entanglements gets a timely reissue.

Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines, Shelf Awareness

The Diamond Lane overflows with sly and vicious observations about all that is superficial in the world of two over-the-top, narcissistic industries but in the midst of all the scathing satire and the withering prose, Karbo still manages luscious bits of insight into real human emotion.

The only problem with The Diamond Lane? The ride ends and I wanted to keep reading.

Catherine Gilmore, Gilmore Guide to Books

The Diamond Lane is a novel worth reading not only for its satirical sendup of Hollywood and its materialism, but also for its continuing relevance to the American way of life more than two decades after its first publication. Karbo speaks to all of us who have struggled to achieve our dreams, been fraught with the need for self-discovery, navigated intricate family relationships, and so often felt besieged by the expectations of society, especially in marriage.

Alex Temblador, Colorado Review

Anyone who has a sister I think will adore this book. Anybody who appreciates very smart, funny novels will like this book as well. It was one of my favorites when it first came out, and to find it again in a beautiful, beautiful presentation — beautiful cover, everything about it. Hawthorne Books did a fabulous job.

Nancy Pearl, Librarian and NPR Commentator
Author of Book Lust