Leah Kaminsky's debut novel, The Waiting Room is nail-biting, but not in a whodunnit way; in the way of an eight-month pregnant protagonist holding her breath against the dual assault of Israeli terrorism and Holocaust memories. Not for the faint-hearted, but with a surprising surfeit of grace notes.
Clare Wright, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Waiting Room deftly draws together and personalises the legacy of the Holocaust and the present-day threat to Israel. It is an assured debut with a complex, believable and engaging protagonist. Finely-observed characters and vignettes give us a human perspective on a culture that is too often portrayed only in political terms. Compelling, moving and memorable. The Waiting Room took me to Israel in the way The Kite Runner took me to Afghanistan, and shone a light on the generational impact of the Holocaust.
Dina, the child of Holocaust survivors, struggles herself to survive the burden of memory and misery that has infused her Melbourne childhood. Far from home, working as a doctor in Haifa and married to a stoic Israeli, she must find a way to quiet her ghosts before their dark voices further dim her own chance at happiness. At a time when the survivors' generation is rapidly diminishing, this novel reminds us that suffering on such a scale has a potent half-life. The Waiting Room is both haunted, and haunting.