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The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky

The Waiting Room

by Leah Kaminsky

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Dina, an Australian and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, now lives in Haifa, Israel. Married to an Israeli, she has a young son and is pregnant with her second child. She is a doctor, and practices medicine in her own clinic. We follow her for one day, a day on which a bomb warning has been issued, as she moves through her day accompanied by and constantly interacting with the ghost of her critical mother.

I found the novel to be unconvincing. I simply could not believe that Dina was a real person in the real world. Or maybe, if she is a real person, she is a person teetering on the brink of insanity, not the competent professional she is purported to be.

She spends much of her day talking to and interacting with the ghost of her mother. People around her observing this (and some did) were constantly saying , "Excuse me?", and she would come up with some excuse/explanation for her behavior. In my world, she would have been sent for a mental evaluation. Also, Dina was supposedly a dedicated physician, but she spent most of her morning avoiding going to the clinic, though her receptionist phoned her to tell her patients are waiting. Then, during the short time she is in the clinic she also avoids her patients, and soon skips out for more wandering around the city.

Perhaps this was the point--the unreality of it all. I just didn't buy it.

1 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Mar 30, 2017 |
I was very intrigued when I read the summary for this book. I enjoy stories in the WWII era. When I started reading this book I was fine with it. Yet, the more I read I realized that I was more like an outsider attempting to look in. What I mean by this is that I was not connected to Dina or her parents' history. I felt that Dina's voice was monotone. It did not have any energy or was a loud voice. I understand part of this had to do with Dina's struggles but still I tried to find some connection with Dina and the story as a whole but could not. This is one book that did not leave me waiting for more. ( )
  Cherylk | Oct 27, 2016 |
3.5. "She was determined to find the document that would reveal
she was someone else's child, desperate to prove that she had
been born unstudied, rather than carry the dark pages of her
parents' life in her veins."

I usually don't start a review with a quote but I believe this quote sums up much about this novel.
The day in the life of Dina, married with one child, another on the way, married and a doctor herself. Now living in Haifa, Israel where bomb warnings have been posted. The threat of violence in a place she had believed safe with continue the unraveling she experienced after living with her very vocal Holocaust survivor mother. Even though dead, her mother and her words linger on.

A difficult book, but a pertinent one on the later effects of the next generation born to those who had already experienced horror and violence. How it is to live with a fear of the violence that is always present, always possible. This is also difficult because of the way it is presented. Well written though it is, the back and forth in memories, the scattered thoughts of the character herself made this read less than easy. Giving a spectral vision to her unraveling could be disconcerting, yet this book does convey an important message and even though the Holocaust has ended, its effects linger on and so does the fear so many experience living in violent ridden countries today.

ARC from publisher. ( )
  Beamis12 | Oct 24, 2016 |
A short book the spans one day in the life of Dina, an expat-Melbournite doctor living in Haifa with her husband and child, but haunted by the tragedies her parents lived through in the holocaust. The book wrestles with the migrant experience, the conflict in the Middle East (although there is little sympathy or humanity given to the Palestinian perspective) and the lingering impacts of trauma. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
The Waiting Room is the debut fiction novel from Leah Kaminsky, a physician and best selling non fiction author.

Dina is a family doctor living in contemporary Israel with her husband and young son. Haifa is a world away from the Melbourne suburbs where Dina grew up, the only daughter of holocaust survivors. Eight months pregnant with her second child, Dina is exhausted and increasingly anxious. Her marriage is strained, she is tired of her patients needs, and she is terrified by an escalated terrorist threat in the city.

As Dina struggles to simply get through a single day, overwhelmed by traffic, a broken heel, demanding patients, and a promise to procure apples for her son, her behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. She finds no comfort in the casual assurances of her husband, nor the ghostly opinion of her long dead mother, who berates, cajoles and nags her daughter for her failings.

The sentiment of The Waiting Room is haunting and moving, relieved only by a rare glimpse of dark humour. The prose and dialogue is sharp and articulate. The pace builds until Dina’s day reaches an explosive conclusion.

The Waiting Room is a short but powerful novel about survival, terror, love and death. ( )
  shelleyraec | Sep 11, 2015 |
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"A multi-generational novel perfect for fans of The Tiger's Wife and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Leah Kaminsky's wry fiction debut unfolds over a day in the life of a young physician in contemporary Israel, who must cope with modern threats under the shadow of her parents' horrific wartime pasts"--… (more)

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