Catherine Young | September 2023 | Nonfiction | 978-1-948814-83-6 | 288 pp | $17.95
In 1855, the landscape painter George Inness began work on his commissioned painting The Lackawanna Valley. A century later, a girl in Scranton, Pennsylvania, looks out over her coal-strewn homeland wishing for beauty and wondering where the artist had stood with his canvas. The interplay between the two stories is at the heart of Catherine Young’s memoir Black Diamonds: A Childhood Colored By Coal. Young invites readers into a world now vanished, but which lingers in shimmering portraits. A lyric work of environmental history, Black Diamonds gives voice to the birthplace of the industrial revolution in North America and the consequences for the people and the forgotten valley that once powered the nation.