Sweet and Low: a family story
Rich Cohen.

Cohen's maternal grandfather, Ben Eisenstadt, invented Sweet N'Low, a granulated, low-calorie sweetener that is still found in its trademark pink packet, on nearly every diner table in the US. This discovery generated a great American fortune but also single-handedly destroyed the family.

This bittersweet novel tells the the rags to riches story of Jewish immigrants, played out across three generations.

Cohen, the rich, successful journalist and author of Tough Jews, The Avengers and Lake Effect, and the youngest son of Ben's once-favourite daughter Ellen, takes the reader on a hilarious, kaleidoscopic journey of the family and their fortune.

He has been disinherited and set free along with his mother and siblings, and is determined to access the truth through a set of interviews with estranged family members and combing through thousands of pages of court documents.

Cohen mixes the flavours of curious and eccentric family members - the first son Uncle Marvellous, the housebound sister Gladys and 'the power behind the throne' Betty, to name just a few - with corruption, accountants and gangsters. He blends the personal and the background picture with ease and flair.

His witty dialogue and observation are masterfully fused with factual information. A hilarious read about what happens when the American Dream goes horribly wrong.

Georgina Rodgers