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Books

The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky

On September 10, 2015

By Sophia Whitfield
The Waiting Room is a remarkable debut from a new voice in fiction. Kaminsky looks at the effect of being a child of a Holocaust survivor, growing up in the shadow of such horror.

The novel opens as Dina walks through the carnage of another attack; bodies lie strewn on the ground as she makes her way to work.

Originally from Melbourne, Dina now harbours grave concerns about her adopted home of Haifa in Israel. She watches as her young son takes the threat of attack in his stride adapting to his environment. Hardship and fear fuel her local community. Dina sees it all – on the way to work and while she is at work.

As a family doctor Dina knows the locals well. There is never enough time for her regulars to spill their woes. She cannot heal them all.

Set in a day, Dina, who is heavily pregnant, grapples with the memory of her mother, a Holocaust survivor. Having left her native Melbourne Dina now feels drawn back home, her mother’s past is never far from her thoughts. Dina finds it impossible to remove her mother’s commentary from her mind. The past she fled has now caught up with her and her new home does not hold the promise she thought it might.

The most memorable character in this novel is the one you don’t see. The voice in Dina’s head – her mother. She is a vividly drawn character. Through the mother the reader understands the depth of Dina’s fear for her own son and unborn child.

Kaminsky’s memorable novel weaves the past and present together and peers briefly into the future. Although Kaminsky has written non-fiction, this is her first fiction novel and it’s wonderful to have discovered her. Buy the book here.

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