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Publisher's Summary

“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). 

©2020 Emuna Elon (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about House on Endless Waters

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting, worth the listen, but not great.

The story is compelling, but was often difficult to follow. I’m not sure if this is due to the narrator’s approach to the book or if it is simply a book that needs to be read so when it goes back and forth between the main character’s life and his writing the reader is clear. I intend to read the book because I’m sure I missed something in the listening. Some books need the touch and sight of the words in order to convey their true meaning.

69 people found this helpful

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Remarkable Story

My mother lived through WW2 in Holland; this story adds another layer to everything she has ever told me about those years. I loved this book.

42 people found this helpful

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A little hard to follow

I think this is a book that should be read, although the narrator was exceptionally good. It's just a bit hard to follow because the focus is constantly changing. But it would be worth buying the book after listening, the story is that good.

36 people found this helpful

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touched on a subject from the Holocaust I'd never

it was a little slow starting but I began to learn other things that happened during the holocaust. it also mentions the emotional trauma suffered by the survivors next generation. it backs up the professional opinion of a psychologist (also in an Audible book) who is a camp survivor. highly recommended for people wanting to be able to pass on to our next generations.

29 people found this helpful

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thank you for this book

I am pleased with how you wrote this book. It kept me up all night!

14 people found this helpful

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Time is the Endless River

What appears to be confusing to some readers (see other reviews), is, I think, part of the structured design of the book...as the main character, a writer of what begins as a history of Holocaust Jews in Holland during the war turns into a history of his own family's life in the time period...and he and we watch as the boundaries between time periods -- then and the now of the writing -- we experience along with the internal writer the walls that he/we think and want to think keep our consciousness within our apparent control, begin to dissolve...and that an apparent confusion appears in the timeline is not confusion but a deliberate attempt to blur the boundaries that we want to trust define who each of us is to his to her own life. The internal writer offers that he doesn't know if the existence he is having in the moment is real or if it is some rather the extension of a consciousness of a real person during the period about which he writes...as if the man about to be hung lives an entire life during the moment the floor is pulled from under him and the moment his neck breaks. Jonathan Davis turns in an extraordinarily measured and sympathetic reading of a deeply meaningful book.

7 people found this helpful

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Everyone should read this book

I just finished this amazing book, and I haven’t been able to leave Amsterdam yet. This is such a beautiful, heartbreaking story that I couldn’t put it down, and read straight through. It took me several minutes after finishing before I remembered it was fiction, and I am still grieving for this family. There is much detail given about daily life in occupied Holland which was interesting for the historical perspective but also added reality to the story. This book is going to be in my head and my heart for a long time.

7 people found this helpful

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Best book I've found for many years

I read a lot of books and this one takes the cake for my favorite for 2020. It has that perfect blend of a can't-put-it-down story in tandem with beautiful, poetic writing. Further, I find that at some point in every book I read there is at least one point where I want to roll my eyes and say "oh, give me a break" because the story or situation is just so implausible. That did not happen with this book. I don't post reviews very often but I wanted to share my enthusiasm for this novel. I hope to read more by this author soon.

6 people found this helpful

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House on Endless Waters

The writing is very difficult to follow until you get into the rhythm of the prose. Forget about conventional writing dictums like point-of-view. Who-is-talking-to-who and following a scene narrator will be confusing. The story is at once modern-day, and the next sentence will be WWII. The constant is a home on an Amsterdam canal. The author pops in short scenes, completely irrelevant. Bizarre? Yeah, it is - but it is a worthy read. Contradiction, I know.

In modern-day, a Jewish man visits a Holocaust museum in Amsterdam and is startled while viewing a short film. The film reveals a few frames of a young couple with two children - his mother, father, sister, and a small child that should be him. It's not. The boy has the wrong shape to his face, the wrong coloring, he's blue-eyed, blonde. Who is this child? He calls his sister and demands to know what could possibly be about, the child is definitely not him. This is the thrust of a story that traverses WWII from the rounding up of Jews in Amsterdam to transports that will include trains to the Bergen-Belsen camp and prisoner exchanges.

Authored by Emuna Elon, House on Endless Waters is originally written in Hebrew; this audiobook rendition is an English translation. Just over ten hours of listening narrated by Jonathan Davis.

Recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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I never got to the story

I was interested in this book because we are going to Amsterdam and thought it would be fun to read. The reader finds out there is a story in the beginning, then the sister confirms there is a story, then the wife tells the man to pursue the story. I listened for several chapters and never got a hint of the story. I don’t know when the story comes out, but I got frustrated so the book was not enjoyable.

3 people found this helpful