House on Endless Waters: A Novel (Hardcover)
Yoel is a highly respected Israeli writer. He has been invited to Amsterdam on a book tour. His Dutch mother made him swear that he would never step foot in the city. While visiting the city, he and his wife visit the Jewish museum. There they watch footage of what life was like before the war. There is a short clip that Yoel immediately recognizes is his mother and older sister and the father he never knew. But the baby being held so lovingly is not him. This begins this fascinating novel of remembrance, love, and life. Yoel is a writer. He moves to Amsterdam and begins to write the story of his mother's life. The author moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined. A great bookclub selection for the new year.— Valerie
“Elon powerfully evokes the obscurity of the past and its hold on the present, as we stumble through revelation after revelation with Yoel. As we accompany him on his journey...we share in his loss, surprise and grief, right up to the novel’s shocking conclusion.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Emuna Elon’s powerful House on Endless Waters is essential Jewish fiction…a deeply immersive achievement that brings to life stories that must never be forgotten.” —USA TODAY
“A story of love, loss, and yearning. Lyrically phrased and often powerfully visual…this deeply felt tale offers a rewarding meditation on survival.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In the tradition of The Invisible Bridge and The History of Love, comes an exquisitely moving novel about a writer who discovers the truth about his mother’s wartime years in Amsterdam, unearthing a shocking family secret that becomes the subject of his magnum opus.
At the behest of his agent, renowned author Yoel Blum reluctantly agrees to visit his birthplace of Amsterdam to promote his books, despite promising his late mother that he would never return to that city. While touring the Jewish Historical Museum with his wife, Yoel stumbles upon footage portraying prewar Dutch Jewry and is astonished to see the youthful face of his beloved mother staring back at him, posing with his father, his older sister…and an infant he doesn’t recognize.
This unsettling discovery launches him into a fervent search for the truth, shining a light on Amsterdam’s dark wartime history—the underground networks that hid Jewish children away from danger and those who betrayed their own for the sake of survival. The deeper into the past Yoel digs to tell the story of his life, the better he understands his mother’s silence, and the more urgent the question that has unconsciously haunted him for a lifetime—Who am I?—becomes.
Part family mystery, part wartime drama, House on Endless Waters is an unforgettable meditation on identity, belonging, and the inextricable nature of past and present.
About the Author
Emuna Elon is an internationally bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist, journalist, and women’s activist. Born to a family of prominent rabbis and scholars, she was raised in Jerusalem and New York. She teaches Judaism, Hasidism, and Hebrew literature. Her first novel translated into English, If You Awaken Love, was a National Jewish Book Award finalist.
Praise for House on Endless Waters
“House on Endless Waters is extraordinary—a vibrant, page-turning family mystery that not only carries us deep into Amsterdam’s little-explored wartime history, but into the fascinating, complex and often painful process by which history is crafted into story.” —Jennifer Cody Epstein, internationally bestselling author of Wunderland and The Painter of Shanghai
“Intricately woven and lushly layered…With achingly exquisite, delicate prose, Elon explores the creative mind’s power to reimagine a life and memory’s power to recognize truth. An unforgettable read.” —Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters
“House on Endless Waters is a haunting and lyrical meditation on who we are and where we come from, on how our past shapes our present and our art. Emuna Elon’s gorgeously intricate novel is beautifully written and moving.” —Jillian Cantor, bestselling author of The Lost Letter and In Another Time
"An elegant, eloquent novel—a story in which time and language melt to reveal truths that could be told in no other way."—Rachel Kadish, bestselling author of The Weight of Ink
"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
“A story of love, loss, and yearning. Lyrically phrased and often powerfully visual…this deeply felt tale offers a rewarding meditation on survival.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Readers will find Elon's lyrical prose haunting as she moves between past and present, constructing a heartbreaking, moving tale that brings understanding and acceptance.” —Booklist
“Emuna Elon’s powerful House on Endless Waters is essential Jewish fiction . . . a deeply immersive achievement that brings to life stories that must never be forgotten.” —USA Today
"[A] lovely novel – about history, fiction and the importance of family ties...“House on Endless Waters” both posits and demonstrates the inextricability of past and present...an intensely clever literary construction that never compromises readability." —FORWARD