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House on Endless Waters

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,439 ratings  ·  340 reviews
For fans of The Invisible Bridge and The History of Love, a lyrical and exquisitely moving novel about a writer who embarks on a transformative journey in Amsterdam, where he discovers the shocking truth about his mother’s wartime experience—unearthing a remarkable story that becomes the subject of his magnum opus.

At the behest of his agent, renowned author Yoel Blum relu
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,439 ratings  ·  340 reviews

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Angela M
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up

This is one of those books that I thought I would love more than I did. I am a fervent reader of holocaust stories because I believe in my heart and soul that it’s something we need to never forget, as horrific as it was. We need to continually remind ourselves and each other, and continue to honor those who were killed and those who survived. It pains me not to give this book a higher rating because like all Holocaust stories, it is just so important.

It just took me a long
I selected this book as I knew little about Amsterdam and even less about what went on in the Netherlands during WWII. I did get some good insight on those topics, but what turned out to be even better was the unexpected incredible slice of life that actually was the focus of the novel.

Yoel Blum is a famous Jewish novelist. For reasons unclear to him, his mother Sonia, now dead, told him never to return to his birthplace, Amsterdam, where he spent his first couple of years before relocating to
Diane S ☔
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book within a book, sometimes can be confusing. Reading this i found it worked better in book form, might be confusing on audio. Until I read, Dutch girl, my knowledge of the Holocaust I that country, was skim. This book filled in some of the blanks in my knowledge.

An author travels to Denmark to uncover the secret of his family. There as he unveils his own past, he places it in the context of a new novel. Interesting structure, and I liked traveling along, as he described the present Holland
Elyse  Walters
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Excellent* read!!!

I was ‘stumped’ - right away when prominent Israeli novelist, Yoel Blum, was giving a book reading in Amsterdam.
A person in the audience said to him,
“You say you’re Israeli ... but you were born in Amsterdam" -- "you’re Dutch”...
Blum was ‘shocked’... ( I felt the shock too - as if I was sitting in that room: it was sooo real!)...
Never, ever, had ‘anything’ ever been publicly written about Blum being born in Amsterdam. He was a successful well-known author: an Israeli: period
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Yoel is a famous Israeli author and he makes a trip to Amsterdam with his wife and at a museum there, they see something pertaining to his past that becomes a real mystery.
This story flashes back and forth from present day to World War ll Amsterdam.
This was very hard for me to read because it was very disjointed and confusing. I wanted to just give up on it a few times.

This ARC was provided by Atria via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just when you think you might have read every story possible about the treatment of Jews during World War II, some remarkably talented author will produce a book that addresses a new and different experience. Then you realize the variations are endless, myriad, just like the souls caught up in the horrors of the Holocaust, because when 11 million people die, there are 11 million stories that could be told.

In Emuna Elon’s novel, House on Endless Waters, Yoel Blum is an Israeli writer whose publi
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is Tish B’Av, the Ninth day of the month of Av, on the Jewish calendar where we mourn the destruction of the first and second temples, as well as other calamities that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history such as the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition and the German invasion of Poland. The three weeks leading up to this day are a time of reflection, culminating with the recitation of the book of Lamentations last night. As today is also a day of fasting, I generally ge ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The chapters are very short, making the pace feel fast. As the story begins, it pulls the reader in very quickly. But once Yoel is back in Amsterdam searching for some answers and as the story switches between present and past times and him reminiscing about his family, a disconnection happens.

While in Amsterdam, you’d think that the story would alternate in time between his story and his mother or put him on a straight forward search for an answer. Instead, there is a lot of reminiscing about h
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Never go back to Amsterdam were words Yoel’s mother drilled into him, but she would never tell why.

When one of Yoel's books was translated into Dutch, he and his wife needed to go to Amsterdam even though he felt guilty about defying his mother’s wishes.

While they were in Amsterdam, Yoel and Bat-Ami visited a Jewish museum, looked at some still films, and saw his mother, his father, his sister, and himself in the films.

Yoel wondered why no one ever told him about this part of his life. He had t
House on Endless Waters is a profound meditation on what matters most in terms of identity and the role that family secrets play. It tells the story in two timelines. In the first, Israeli writer Yoel Blum, now a famous novelist and a grandfather, goes to Amsterdam for a book signing PR tour and wanders into the Jewish Museum. His family emigrated from Amsterdam to Jerusalem so it would not be surprising to find some trace of his roots there. And, indeed, he does, but not necessarily what he exp ...more
Veronica ⭐️
Yoel’s discovery on a trip to Amsterdam, the place of his birth, of old picture of his parents, his sister Nettie and a baby boy too young to be himself, sets off a crisis; of who am I?
Suddenly he feels he doesn’t know his mother. The woman he was so close to had secrets from him that went to the grave with her. With this new revelation he starts to question their close relationship.

Piecing together scraps of information from older sister, Nettie, Yoel returns to Amsterdam to write his greatest
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I’ve always thought I know how to write people because I know how to see them, yet today I discovered that I’ve never really succeeded in seeing even my own mother. I thought I was close to you, my beloved mother, I thought I knew you well, and now it turns out that all the time you were carrying a missing child in your heart – and I didn’t feel it and would never have guessed.”

House on Endless Waters is the fourth novel by Israeli journalist and author, Emuna Elon. Yoel Blum has never bee
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very moving story. Famous Israeli author Yoel Blum had sworn to his late mother than he would never visit Amsterdam, the place he was born and where he, his mother and sister escaped from during WWII. But he agrees to go to appease his publisher and makes a discovery that changes his understanding of who he is. Yoel decides to write a novel based on what he’s discovered. The normal dual story line style of this genre is replaced by Yoel in the present day interwoven with his writing of ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction so this was right up my alley. A deeply moving story that pulled me right in. A remarkable read and a great book club pick.

Novels N Latte
Hudson Valley NY
Sharon Hart-Green
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
House on Endless Waters is a hauntingly beautiful novel by Emuna Elon--certainly one of the most talented Israeli novelists writing today. This novel speaks to the reader on so many levels--portraying the tragedy of recent Jewish history in a way that is immediate and psychologically riveting. As we follow along with Yoel Blum in his quest to find the truth about his childhood in Amsterdam, we also realize that this is an inner search for self-understanding which has wider ramifications on his r ...more
Gloria Arthur
⭐️3.5 Stars⭐️

House on Endless Waters is a historical fiction family mystery novel. It's a story of Yoel Blum a famous Israeli novelist and is a story within a story.

While on a book tour in Amsterdam although promising his mother (now deceased) he would never return to his birthplace, Yoel and his wife come across a looping reel of photos in a Jewish museum in which he sees his then young mother posing with her husband, his sister and an infant in pre-war times.

His sister Netty has few memories
Feb 09, 2020 marked it as never-gonna-happen  ·  review of another edition
Adding this to the 'never gonna happen' collection because I NEED SPEECH MARKS.

Also war story so not my jam.

We're done here.

*This review has been for my sake, not yours.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is my own opinion.I did not enjoy reading this book I felt like a ping pong, it is translated from Hebrew to English. Don"t know if that is the cause but the story did not have a flow.
I likded the base of the story about family secrets and the discovry of one"s past and who they are. Liked the cover of the book too.
I want to thank Netgalley,Simon & Schuster Canada, Atria Books and Emuna Elon for this advance e-copy in exchage of an honest review.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

3.5 stars

‘The waters of the canal flowed dark and silent along their ancient course, dark and silent and all remembering.’

Originally published in Israel in 2016, House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon has been translated into English by Anthony Berris and Linda Yechiel. Published in March 2020 by Allen and Unwin Australia, Emuna Elon’s novel is a quietly reflective tale of family, love, loss, choices and identity.

At the request of his agent, respected author
3 Stars

To Ms Elon,

I'm on the fence here. Not sure where I really stand with this text...

Firstly,can I ask why do authors do the conversations between characters without talking quotations ??? I'm sorry, but I had to deduct a star for just that, it scrambled with my brain, reading in one voice and then having to reread bits again when the realisation it was a conversation taking place and needed to be read in different voices... From this avid reader - its a huge pet hate, please just add them in
Yoel Blum is a writer who grew up in Israel. However, he was born in Amsterdam. His mother had told Yoel that he must never go back to Amsterdam. She also never mentioned why or anything about her life while living there. After she died, Yoel had to go there for publicity for the release of one of his books.

The trip opened up a Pandora’s box for Yoel. He ends up staying for an extended time, determined to dig up the past and write his mother’s story. What he doesn’t realize is that his mother’s
Deborah Ideiosepius
This was a beautifully written very impressive novel. There were many layers to it and, in many ways it was quite an unexpected reading experience. First published in Hebrew in 2016, I read it as an English translation, a very good translation as the rich descriptive language was gorgeous.

But, as to the plot, here is what the description says: " A lyrical and exquisitely moving novel about a writer who embarks on a transformative journey in Amsterdam, where he discovers the shocking truth about
Talia Carner
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-fiction
This book took my breathe away.
Not only it is written in fabulous Hebrew prose, but the way the author has woven the story between the personal history of the protagonist--himself a successful author--and the current time in which he plays a detective of his own history is done in a masterful way.

I am always bothered when the author takes us into the narrator's point-of-view and has the reader share all his thoughts and intimate feelings, yet holds back crucial information that this protagonist
Laura • lauralovestoread
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2020, atria
This was a difficult read for me, not because of the writing or the book, but I guess I just had a hard time connecting with the characters. I would love to revisit this read again at some point, but for now, unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.

*Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own
Hannelore Cheney
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the eARC.
What a beautiful, lyrical and moving book this is, absolutely exquisite.
Yoel Blum, a famed Israeli author is in Amsterdam, looking for answers to his past, planning to write his most personal book yet. He was born in the city before his mother, sister and he ended up fleeing the Nazis, settling in Israel.
He stays in a small hotel in the area where he lived with his family as a small toddler, wandering around filling numerous notebooks to use as a
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elon employs one of the most inventive storytelling techniques I've read in a long time in this moving and heartbreaking story set in Amsterdam in present day and WWII. Saying more would ruin the story and the twist that smashed me at the end. ...more
Louise Fisher
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon.
Let me start off by praising the beautiful cover and magnificent writing of the talented Emuna Elon.
This is kind of like a ‘book within a book’ and at times I found it very confusing, as the story constantly alternates between past and present.
Yoel Blum is a famous Jewish writer. He was born in Amsterdam, escaped from the Nazis during WW11 with his mother and sister Nettie, finally settling in Israel. Yoel’s mother had one obsession - her family must never v
Shocks from the past!

I must admit that I was not as hooked on this book as I thought I would be from the publishers blurb. Whether it was the pace of the story or just Yoel Blum himself I am unsure.
A successful Israeli author, Yoel's publisher wants him to go to Amsterdam for the launch of his latest book which has been translated into Dutch. Conflicted, Yoel does, despite having promised his mother to never return to the place of his birth, Amsterdam.
Of course the first question is why did Yoel
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The writer Yoel Blum embarks on a journey of self-discovery surrounded by the popular canals of the city of Amsterdam and those lucky readers who have found this precious novel will travel with him.

House on Endless Waters will move you to tears and anger, it will also forever change that idyllic image you may have of The Netherlands. It's a novel within a novel, a gem for bookworms, one of those stories that must be written in order not to be forgotten, a must.

I strongly recommend it to those p
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

When Yoel Blum breaks a promise to his dead mother by traveling to Amsterdam to celebrate the Dutch translation of one of his books, he does not know what path he has started to trod on.

Blum was born during the Second War when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. His family lived in the Netherlands. His discovery of a family secret leads to an extended stay in the country as well as discovery aspects of himself that he though long dead. The story is told through Blu
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Play Book Tag: The House on Endless Waters, by Emu Elon; 3 Stars 2 6 Aug 03, 2020 08:39AM  

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“In order to hand me over she had to detach herself from herself, and afterward she never managed to get back inside herself and continued, long after the war ended, living outside herself and observing her life without any emotion.” 0 likes
“Two thousand five hundred. According to the documents Yoel has studied, that was the number of Jewish children hidden by Christian families during the war. Two thousand five hundred Jewish children, most of them from Amsterdam. According to Dutch law only those children with a surviving parent were eventually returned, while according to reality only those children whose surviving parent managed to find where they had been hidden were returned. Many children therefore remained with the families that had hidden them. Many of the hidden children were complete unaware that they were not the biological offspring of the people who raised them, Many are unaware of it to this days.” 0 likes
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