Buy This Book: UNDERWATER by Elizabeth Diamond

What happens when you lose someone precious in your childhood? And you don’t know what happened to them? Someone like a sibling, say, who was your center, the calm eye of the storm of hard feelings, fear and misery that was your family? And there’s no closure, only half-truths and secrets, the tricks of your memory. You live with this absence. Live over it. Do the best you can. In UNDERWATER, Elizabeth Diamond's second novel, Jane does this. She lives over the loss of her brother. Makes a life, marries, has a child. And with all of this she has in effect “fixed” the past. But the sore mystery of her brother’s whereabouts never leaves her; the wound his absence has left in her heart never heals. Still, Jane might have managed keeping all of what happened inside and all of herself together, if not for the accident that befalls her own child, the accident that renders her son, whom she adores, less than perfect. Now, like falling dominoes, her life comes apart.

The darker themes of this story are sometimes overwhelming, but as a character, Jane is exceptionally well drawn and the emotional tenor of the drama, while it is a lot of drama, rings true. As in Elizabeth Diamond’s first novel, An Accidental Light, what compels the reader is the beauty of the writing, the ever-so-delicate unfoldment of Jane’s private heart and her private pain through her relationships with her husband and son and with her mother who didn’t ever favor Jane, but doted on the brother.

UNDERWATER is an unflinching examination of the nature of our disappointment in ourselves in circumstances where we wish, even pray, to be better human beings and yet continue to fail. It is inevitable that Jane will finally be forced to search for her lost brother. It is only in finding him that she will have the answer and possible healing and closure. Does he remember the way she does? The terrible truth that has sat burning like a hot coal at the center of her being her entire life? She knows what it has cost her--nearly everything. But what has it cost him?

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