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The Diamond Lane Paperback – September 23, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reluctantly back home in L.A. after 16 years in Africa, a documentary filmmaker longs for the jungle; with its laugh-aloud moments and brilliantly drawn cast, this is a tale to treasure.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Documentary filmmaker Mouse FitzHenry, her live-in collaborator Tony Cheatham in tow, jets home to Los Angeles for a family emergency after 16 years in Africa. Mother Shirl, recovering from brain surgery after being beaned by a falling ceiling fan, expects Mouse and Tony to marry. Sister Mimi shares her duplex and friends, all Film People or People in Film (with distinction provided). But as life proceeds, art intervenes. Mouse works on a documentary of their wedding (co-producing with Ivan, her first love and Mimi's ex-husband) without Tony's approval; and Tony, smitten with Lalaland, pushes a project based (loosely) on their romance, knowing Mouse would be appalled. A deft, tragicomic social satire--of Los Angeles and the movie biz in particular and modern mores in general--noteworthy for the complexity of its characters, crisp prose, and loopy comic style.
- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Hawthorne Books; Second Edition edition (September 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098936044X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989360449
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karen Karbo's first novel, Trespassers Welcome Here, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a Village Voice Top Ten Book of the Year. Her other two adult novels, The Diamond Lane and Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me, were also named New York Times Notable Books.

Karbo's 2004 memoir, The Stuff of Life, about the last year she spent with her father before his death, was an NYT Notable Book, a People Magazine Critics' Choice, a Books for a Better Life Award finalist, and a winner of the Oregon Book Award for Creative Non-fiction.

Her short stories, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, O, More, The New Republic, The New York Times, salon.com and other magazines. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award.

Karbo is most well known for her best-selling Kick Ass Women series, the most recent of which is How Georgia Became O'Keeffe, published in 2011. How to Hepburn, published in 2007, was hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "an exuberant celebration of a great original"; #1 ebook best-seller The Gospel According to Coco Chanel appeared in 2009. Next up: Julia Child Rules, which will appear in October 2013.

In addition, Karbo penned three books in the Minerva Clark mystery series for children: Minerva Clark Gets A Clue, Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs, and Minerva Clark Gives Up the Ghost.

Karen grew up in Los Angeles, California and lives in Portland, Oregon where she continues to kick ass.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It makes me so sad that there are no reviews of this book. It's by far one of the funniest books I have ever read, and is a fantastic satire of Hollywood life and film making. The writing in it is fun to read you'll wish the book would never end.

Mimi and Mouse are two sisters who don't get along very well. Mostly this is because Mimi married a man (Ivan) that Mouse had her first crush on, who she later divorced (unfortunately before he won the Oscar for best documentary.) This caused Mouse to move to Africa and make documentaries there with a large British man named Tony, who wants to write screenplays. Years and years pass, and Mimi and Mouse's mom gets brained on the head by a ceiling fan while in a fancy restaurant and has to have brain surgery. Mimi, thinking her mother is dying, calls Mouse and tells her to come home.

Once home in LA, Mouse, who thinks her mother is dying, promises to marry Tony to make her mother happy, even though she has a fear of commitment. She finally gets around the wedding anxiety by planning to make a documentary of her own wedding with Ivan, Mimi's ex-husband who's Mouse is sort of in love with. Meanwhile Tony is writing a screenplay (and selling it) about how he and Mouse met. Only, unknown to Mouse it involves sports illustrated models.

Hollywood values, sisterhood, and filmmaking are all tested in this wonderful novel which shows the lengths people will go to get what they want, be that an acting job, a screenplay contract, or a showing of a movie. I can't say this enough, read the book! Even if it does make fun of Oregon I love it, and I can't believe it's out of print.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because I heard a stellar review of it on NPR and the reviews here were all positive, which almost never happens, so I figured it must be good. It was not. I don't know what parts everyone is "laughing out loud" at but I didn't find any of them at all. I like character studies, and relationship studies, I get it, but none of these people were likeable at all, so I cared very little. The title, The Diamond Lane, is the Diamond Lane in L.A., the carpool lane which is referenced maybe twice in the whole book. Reading it on my Kindle, I forgot what the title of the book even was until someone asked me what I was reading. Everyone in the book is caught up in their own (misguided) self-importance and they all lie to each other throughout the entire thing. If I met any of these people in real life I'd tell them to shove off. I finished it, only because I don't like starting a book and not finishing it. But it's not worth it. Save your money.
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Format: Paperback
Great book.

So many different threads weaving in and out of each other, and each is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. Seriously, though, I laughed out loud more with this book than any other I've ever read. Hollywood, something close to my heart, becomes the butt of criticism, but Karbo handles it with love. It's pure satire, and she is great at it.

I don't want to give away any plot points, but if you like familial stories written with an eye for detail, you will love this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not good! I wanted to/ expected to like this book perhaps because I love everything Jane Smiley publishes and she liked it. So it was very disappointing to find the story is not good, doesn't go anywhere, the characters are not interesting and it's not funny in the least. Yes, I finished it. I forced myself to finish - because that's what I do - and found the ending to be the worst part. Quickly looking forward to my next book to coverup this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't recall how I stumbled upon this one, but I'm so so glad I did. It kind of reminds me of Get Shorty, in that it's about how terrible and wonderful the film industry is. You will probably love it. Somebody should make it into a movie immediately.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For non-Californians think of our `High Occupancy Vehicle' lanes, minimum two occupants per car - as 90% of vehicles on LA freeways contain only one lonely soul - due to a similar percentage of marriages that end in divorce out here probably. These lanes are designated by white diamonds on the roadway - thus the title `The Diamond Lane'.

Anyway this novel is deservedly now undead - resurrected by Portland's Hawthorne imprint, a small second-coming press dedicated to reanimating quality fiction. (God bless too, and if second comings are indeed their specialty, I have a suggestion... but I digress.)

Originally published in 1991 the `Lane' is post-modern savaging of Angelinos along with LA/Hollywood rights and rituals.

I remember driving down the 405 by LAX, bumper to bumper, having plenty of time to read the billboards. This pretty much sums up Tinsel Town.

"First the earthquake, then the rain, fires and mudslides. And now this - Geraldo Herrera, every weekday 4:00 to 5:00 on KXLA"...

`The Lane' was well reviewed in it's first life - the New Yorker saying: "It's a testament to Karbo's skill at high comedy that the book ends with a funeral rather than a wedding - and leaves you laughing!" In the born-again edition, friend Jane Smiley also writes a fine and literary introduction.

Characters: Auntie Barb visits from her home in Boring, Oregon, a picaresque observer, radiant with sadistically amusing opinions on the unclothed La La Land emperors. Also the airs of her extended family.

Mom Shirl desperately wants youngest daughter Mouse to marry and pop some grandies as it's getting late.
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