THE WAITING ROOM (HARPER) by Leah Kaminsky takes place over the course of a single day, but the story it tells spans five decades, three continents, and one family’s compelling history of love, war and survival.
Dina is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her mother survived the Displaced Person’s camp in Bergen-Belsen. Her father survived Auschwitz as a tailor to SS officers. Dina is a doctor, trying to heal, mend and in some way, straddling past and present to make up for the horror of her family’s past. She has emigrated from Melbourne, Australia to be closer to the land of her people, but in many ways she’s viewed a “Galutnik” or Dispora Jew. Her husband and others think she’s unable to truly understand the reality of being hunted by an enemy that wants Jews exterminated.
Her husband, Eitan was the first man who understood the ghosts and voices that took residence in Dina’s mind and life. But being a mother, busy doctor, wife and bogged down with voices is stretching her thin. The stress of living under the constant threat of terror is pushing her coping skills to the limit. They live in Haifa, which is considered a safer city in Israel, but on this day, terrorists will carry out their threat.
Leah Kaminsky tells a compelling story literally has you in the driver’s seat with Dina. From page one until the end, the narrative keeps readers hearts pounding, while holding their breath. I certainly had an eye-opening experience when it came to learning about living under daily security procedures in Israel. Leah has a background in poetry and the brevity and musicality of her prose rang through.