DIAMOND BOY by Michael Williams

DIAMOND BOY

Age Range: 12 - 18
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this sprawling, messy but compelling epic, a teenager and his family join other desperate Zimbabweans seeking a future in Marange’s diamond mines.

Patson and his little sister, Grace, don’t want to leave Bulawayo, but hyperinflation has decimated the family’s income. Their stepmother, Sylvia, nags their schoolteacher father, Joseph, into moving the family to Marange, where her brother James controls a diamond-mining syndicate. Unaware of the region’s chaotic violence, they survive the journey only with help from an enigmatic Congolese. James welcomes his sister, while housing the rest of the family in a stifling, smelly tobacco shed. Joseph’s promised teaching position proves illusory—there’s no school. Mining’s the only job, and it’s mandatory. Hiding their finds from James means trouble, yet many miners try, including the youth syndicate Patson joins. His gentle, broken father doesn’t share his fantasies of striking it rich. Brutal mayhem, already the norm, increases when soldiers arrive, commanded by a vicious sadist. Lacking the compact power of its 2011 companion novel, Now Is the Time for Running, this tale is operatic in scope and intensity (no accident—Williams directs the Capetown Opera). Horrific events proliferate, generating a kind of sympathetic PTSD in readers. What keeps them engaged is concern for Patson and those he loves in a world that’s all too real.

A haunting, harrowing tale guaranteed to give “bling” a whole new meaning. (author notes, glossary). (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 2nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-316-32069-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014




MORE BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS

ChildrenNOW IS THE TIME FOR RUNNING by Michael Williams
by Michael Williams
ChildrenTHE GENUINE HALF-MOON KID by Michael Williams
by Michael Williams

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenA BEAUTIFUL LIE by Irfan Master
by Irfan Master
ChildrenTHE SECRET SKY by Atia Abawi
by Atia Abawi
ChildrenTIMBER CREEK STATION by Ali Lewis
by Ali Lewis