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Bestseller; Partial translation available

House on Endless Waters

Joel Bloom is a successful Israeli writer whose books have been widely translated. To mark the publication of his third book to be translated into Dutch, he complies with his agent’s pleading and flies to Amsterdam to promote it. Although he was born there, this is his first trip back, because of a promise he made to his late mother Sonia, a Holocaust survivor – it was in the Netherlands that she lost her husband, her parents and her siblings. Only she, her daughter Netty and her baby son Joel survived.

In Amsterdam, Joel and his wife visit the Jewish museum. And there, in an old black and white movie depicting Jewish life just before the Holocaust, he spots his mother holding a baby. But Joel is sure that the fair-haired child who looks like Sonia, is not himself. Did he have a brother? And if so, what became of him? Why did they hide it from him? When he gets back home, his sister tells him – for the first time – the story of his life, and his soul can no longer rest. So he returns to Amsterdam to try and solve the mystery of the baby who disappeared and to trace his own identity. He is also determined to write his best book yet — a novel about his mother, her family, friends, and the leaders of the Amsterdam Jewish community who collaborated with the Nazis. Thus, the tale of Joel’s trip to present-day Amsterdam is bound up with the city’s past and the story of the Jews who believed that “it couldn’t happen here,” and that it was inconceivable that the cruel fate met by the Jews in other lands of Europe was awaiting them too.

Emuna Elon’s novel is a powerful human drama that foregrounds moral dilemmas and courageous decisions, and reads like a psychological-detective thriller.

Dutch, English
Title House on Endless Waters
Writer's Last Name Elon
Writer's First Name Emuna
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
No. Pages 288pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Bayit Al Mayim Rabim
  • “I read this book in excitement and wonder. It's not only a touching and fascinating book, but a sophisticated one as well. ”

    Amos Oz
  • “ Done with a craftswoman’s hand … The plot proceeds on two main levels … and the author describes them ably and in a very convincing manner … There are many moving episodes … The seam between the mythological and the personal is sewn with a fine, silken, concealed narrative thread whose beauty lies in its delicacy, and it creates a sense of true catharsis in the reader’s breast … Fictional and semi-fictional works have been written about the Holocaust from the moment the war ended … This book is proof that even if the option of fiction is only secondary to the documentary option, it can be done in a beautiful and moving manner. ”

    Alit Karp, Haaretz
  • “ Lucid and lovely … The in-depth research Elon has done on her subject is evident … House on Endless Waters is accurate historical fiction. It is to be hoped that it will be translated.”

    Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom
  • “It distinguishes itself of a lot of Dutch novels because it handles some of the more controversial subjects of the historiography of the Shoah. (…) Such elements, crucial in this novel, make sure “House on Endless Waters’ never gets bogged down in cliché’s about a rather well-known topic.”

    NRC Handelsbled
  • “This beautifully written novel jumps back and forth between past and present with agility, while the tension gradually mounts and persecution of Jews in the Netherlands emerges as a tangible reality.”