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.
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.
Elon’s novel is a powerful human drama that foregrounds moral dilemmas and
courageous decisions, and reads like a psychological-detective thriller.
PARTIAL TRANSLATION AVAILABLE (for publishers only).
How to handle a painful truth? That’s what the awarded Israeli writer Emuna Elon shows in her recently translated, poignant novel “House on Endless Waters” .It’s a wonderful book, also because of the beautiful translation.’On the one hand, the story fits in the rich literary tradition of the great authors like Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, whose books generally take place in Israel and are marked by clear language and the capacity of great psychological insight. On the other hand the book is also a ‘Dutch’ novel in that the story develops partly in fairly affluent Jewish circles in Amsterdam during the German occupation, that is described in a very realistic way. 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.’
"House on Endless Waters" is a very successful introduction of the Israeli writer Emuna Elon in the Dutch language. A novel that is more than just worth reading. Excellent.
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.
EO Visie, May 2018
Sonja's son is nowhere near a cliché about a well-known theme. ..As the novel progresses and the chapters that are taking place in the present are more often alternated with from Joel's novel, past and present become more intertwined. It makes the story incredibly exciting…The psychology of Joël is also beautiful.
NRC, June 2018
I read this book in excitement and wonder. It's
not only a touching and fascinating book, but a sophisticated one as well.
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
In order to
correctly appreciate the impressive work that Elon has produced, the book
should be read more than once. The first reading – and the book is read with
bated breath – will reveal the strength of the story, but in order to bare it
fully, it should be examined like a complex work of art, from several aspects.
This is a book that contains many meanings: the historical, the poetic, the
artistic, the religious, the family-related and the existential; each reading
will disclose new layers and secrets … A masterpiece. Not only because of the
descriptive power of the novel, and the precise, finely constructed plot; not
only because of its vivid characters whose broken hearts tear at the hearts of
the reader; not only because the historical past in it lives on into the
present, but because all of these depict how the history that is read in books
is a fragment of the broken heart of a human being in his or her everyday life.
Serloi, Makor Rishon
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.
Amrousi, Israel Hayom
new book envelopes the reader even in its early pages ... Emuna Elon is an
artist who uses the Hebrew language like a magic wand, and the book is
recommended with all my heart.
Ofra Lax, Arutz
on in the book, it is clear that what can be seen is not what it is … The way
the book’s great secret is revealed is wonderful … This is a painful and
engrossing human drama … The passages in which the story of the past is told
are the best in the book, as well as the special way in which Elon weaves the
stories together … Powerful … This is unimaginable drama and tragedy … This
story stayed with me for many days.
Naama Carmi, Literary blog
marvelously written … Run and buy it ... The enjoyment is universal.
member Shelly Yachimovich
new book gripped me and never let go.
has succeeded in writing a story of a journey and self-discovery that is
life-changing, without falling into clichés. A masterpiece.
writing is pellucid and clean and it has an evocative emotional power, but is
devoid of sentimentality. The writer
does not get close up to her characters, but she writes rather from a
considerable distance, and this how she pulls their strings. Good, elegant
prose, and the novel is well constructed ... After reading the whole book,
there is an urge to read it again, and this time to identify all the clever
milestones that the writer has positioned.
Rivka Shaul Ben Zvi, Iton 77
text, conveying a feeling of reality, accurate in the description of feelings.
At times I felt as if I was reading a Grossman text, from the way that the
sentences sang. This is wonderful, and makes you feel that you are reading a
great author ... A good book, very well narrated and written, and the leading
character is really interesting. It just makes one want to read everything she
Gizbar, Literary blog
of the best books that I have read this year … A book that is beautifully
written, and which shows that even when we think we know something we actually
do not know anything.
Shlomit Lica, Saloona
A book in
which the plot is very well shaped and narrated, written in an intriguing way,
and the main figure in it is fascinating.
Yael Chen, Prestige