This is a hauntingly beautiful story written as a novel within a novel. A noted Israeli writer visits Amsterdam on a book tour, where he comes across a photograph of his mother, his sister and an unknown infant during Amsterdam’s occupation in WWII. As he searches to uncover the infant’s identity, he comes to learn the truth of not only the city’s dark wartime history and the fate of its Jews, but also comes to understand his mother’s pain and begins to understand the question that had always plagued him, Who Am I? This gorgeously written story is incredibly insightful, evocative and explores in depth how the past and present are incapable of being disentangled and forever intertwined. — Tambra Johnson Reap
“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
In the tradition of The Invisible Bridge and The Weight of Ink, “a vibrant, page-turning family mystery” (Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of Wunderland) about a writer who discovers the truth about his mother’s wartime years in Amsterdam, unearthing a shocking secret that becomes the subject of his magnum opus.
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 up, 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 “a rewarding meditation on survival” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and a “deeply immersive achievement that brings to life stories that must never be forgotten” (USA TODAY).
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
“Emuna Elon has given us an elegant, eloquent novel—a story in which time and language melt to reveal truths that could be told in no other way. House on Endless Waters is at once an Escher print of a tale and devastatingly, inescapably real.” —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