House on Endless Waters

Written by Emuna Elon
Review by Sherry Jones

An Israeli author, whose mother escaped from Nazi-occupied Amsterdam with him and his sister, travels to the land of his birth to promote his new book—and discovers a shocking secret. Realizing at once that the discovery will be the basis of his next project, the author, Yoel Blum, returns to Amsterdam to research and imagine the untold story of his childhood. The result is a beautifully written, heart-rending tale of what it means to be Jewish today—what it has always meant—and of one writer’s search for story and for truth.

Writers generally love to read books about writers writing books, and with good reason: the delight of discovery, flights of fancy, and solving of riddles and puzzles makes the act of writing, and of reading about writing, an exquisite delight. Elon, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, eloquently puts the reader in the writer’s seat, moving back and forth from past to present as Yoel searches for clues to his past while imagining vividly the horrors that his mother courageously endured to guard her children’s lives. Elon writes sensitively and with deep awareness of the nuances and complexities inherent in the human condition. House on Endless Waters is a gorgeous, haunting literary work and highly engrossing, a page-turner at once poignant and provocative, with themes that resonate today and for all time.