Why does Yoel Blum, famous Israeli writer, break his promise to his deceased mother never to visit Amsterdam? First he travels to The Netherlands to promote his latest book, but while there he visits the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam where he accidentally sees a film clip featuring his mother, father, sister and an infant, whom he doesn’t recognise; this causes him to return immediately to uncover the story of the infant. In Emuna Elon’s powerful tale ‘House on Endless Waters’, the story of Yoel and his family during the difficult times of the late 1930’s until the mid-1940’s evolves.
As well as being a family saga it is also an historical novel, which highlights life for the Jews in The Netherlands during the Holocaust. This novel set in Amsterdam is a story within a story, as Yoel unravels his own early history, while exploring his Jewish mother’s life in the challenging times of the Holocaust; a time when Jewish parents had to make the most difficult choices of their life. By blending the past with the present, fact with fiction, the author immerses the reader in the present-day beauty of Amsterdam and Dutch culture, while at the same time exposing the reader to the horrors of life for Yoel’s Jewish mother during earlier times.
Originally published in Hebrew, I highly recommend this brilliantly translated booked, which is not only incredibly moving, bitter and brutal, but also hopeful and optimistic. Readers with a Dutch background will particularly appreciate Elon’s vivid picture of Amsterdam, both present day and during World War 2.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|