‘It’s Quiet Here’
Writer Anita Diamant on the manhunt in her neighborhood
“It’s quiet here, and the wind just kicked up,” the writer Anita Diamant, who is under lockdown at her house in Newton, just outside Boston, told me this afternoon. “It’s just so weird.”
Diamant, the author of the feminist Jewish novel The Red Tent and several nonfiction books on Jewish ritual, has spent the days since Monday’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon trying to find a way back to normal — but the news Friday morning that police were conducting a citywide manhunt for a 19-year-old suspect whose brother was killed in an overnight shootout with police hasn’t helped. “My daughter called me at 7 and said, ‘Don’t go out,’” Diamant said.
The attacks have turned Boston into a small town: when Diamant turned on the news, she heard her colleague Robin Young, host of a program on Boston’s WBUR radio station, talking about the target of the manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, attending a pre-prom party Young threw for her nephew in 2011. Another acquaintance’s grandchild was a victim of the blast. “That’s what it’s like here,” Diamant said. “It feels personal.”
Earlier this week, Diamant went with her 27-year-old daughter Emilia to the circus downtown, a longtime tradition the pair revived to celebrate Emilia’s recent move back to Boston, and part of an effort to return to normalcy. Boylston Street, still classified as a crime scene, was closed, but they walked to Boston Common, where they found people gathering around ad hoc memorials. “There were people there wearing their marathon jackets,” Diamant said. “Then last night I was at an event in Salem, and people there were wearing their marathon jackets, too. They just become icons.”
Tonight, she and her husband Jim Ball had planned to go to a friend’s house nearby for Shabbat dinner. “If you have a Friday night dinner, even if it’s simple, it’s reassuring, it’s calming,” Diamant said. But now those plans are on hold. Diamant wanted to make bread pudding with a challah she has in the freezer, but doesn’t have eggs and can’t go out to buy them unless the lockdown is lifted; anyway, it’s not clear that the other guests will be able to leave their houses, either. “You want it to end, you want it resolved,” she told me. “I think everyone wants this over, and to know it’s over.”
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.