Thursday, May 9, 2024
“The Diamond Setter,” by Moshe Sakal
In this semi-autobiographical novel, Sakal employs a nested folktale device and draws on true events to tell the tale of the uneventful life of a jeweler from Tel Aviv that changes abruptly after Fareed, a handsome young man from Damascus, crosses illegally into Israel, making his way to the ancient port city of Jaffa in search of his roots. We learn the story of his family’s past – a tale of forbidden love beginning in the 1930s – and its entanglement with the Israelis he connects with on his journey.
Carrying a legendary blue diamond named “Sabakh,” Fareed immigrates to Israel from Syria in search of Sabakh’s original owner. As the diamond’s story becomes entangled with the narration, their family history is explored and a love triangle from the 1930s is exposed between a Jewish couple and a beautiful Muslim woman. The diamond’s reappearance in Israel ignites a second romance seventy years later between Fareed, narrator Tom, and Honi, an Israeli soldier.