The Waiting Room: A Novel

The Waiting Room: A Novel

by Leah Kaminsky


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The Waiting Room is both haunted, and haunting.”—Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March

The Waiting Room unfolds over the course of a single, life-changing day, but the story it tells spans five decades, three continents, and one family’s compelling history of love, war, and survival

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Dina’s present has always been haunted by her parents’ pasts. She becomes a doctor, emigrates, and builds a family of her own, yet no matter how hard she tries to move on, their ghosts keep pulling her back. A dark, wry sense of humor helps Dina maintain her sanity amid the constant challenges of motherhood and medicine, but when a terror alert is issued in her adopted city, her coping skills are pushed to the limit.


Interlacing the present and the past over a span of twenty-four hours, The Waiting Room is an intense exploration of what it means to endure a day-to-day existence defined by conflict and trauma, and a powerful reminder of just how fragile life can be. As the clock counts down to a shocking climax, Dina must confront her parents’ history and decide whether she will surrender to fear, or fight for love.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062490476
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 540,502
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Leah Kaminsky is poetry and fiction editor at the Medical Journal of Australia. She conceived and edited Writer, M.D., an anthology of contemporary doctor-writers. She is the author of We’re All Going to Die, the award-winning poetry collection Stitching Things Together, and collaborated on the number one Amazon bestseller Cracking the Code. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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The Waiting Room: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Set in a place I have never visited and maybe even in a country that I have never read a fictional tale about - Israel. This story takes place in a country that is in unrest and you can tell that the characters are not in a steady place. Although I am not the biggest fan of ghosts and books with ghosts and spirits, this one was ok because the author presented them as ghosts from page one. The books that frustrate me is when the reader doesn't know and the author is trying something. I liked that the reader wasn't left out in the dark and I knew that she was consulting the spirit/ghost of her mom.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Children of Holocaust survivors carry a heavy burden! Dina is living in Haifa, Israel, with her husband. She’s expecting a child but wonders how her looming fear regarding the warning of an expected terrorist attack by Palestinians will affect her child. She’s originally from Australia but came to Israel when she visited and found that she felt at home in a way she never had before. But time has passed and terrorism is a constant nemesis which allows no one to relax – ever! Add to the mix that her dead mother visits Dina all the time, correcting her behavior, throwing out Jewish maxims, leaking her melancholy mood into the very fiber of Dina’s being. At first Dina is silent, since she knows that her mother’s memories are never absent, a condition normal for survivors of those awful camps at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Dina’s father was silent but by the end of the novel he too will come to share his story. The result? Dina is constantly exhausted and not just from her pregnancy. Her practice as a doctor is filled with severely and moderately sick people, hypochondriacs needing attention (more survivor guilt), and occasional outbursts of hatred toward Arabs, children, etc. Dina’s focus lately is an overwhelming need to get away – anywhere, anytime, anyplace! She and her husband are becoming more and more estranged every day and the only reason she doesn’t return to Australia is she doesn’t believe she can take her child away from its father. Despite all the doom and gloom above, Dina’s got a feisty sense of humor which manifests in almost every situation she finds herself. However, it usually never passes the thinking stage. The remainder of the story involves the individual stories of her parents, a secret about their family that Dina never imagined, and Dina’s reconciliation with the past and present. It’s a long, dark, funny, and beautiful journey! So many novels have been crafted about the Holocaust and its survivors, but Leah Kaminsky has created a unique story about growing from survival which hits the reader as endearingly realistic! This is a fine, fine work of historical fiction that should be must reading not only for adults but also young adults and/or high school students. It is said that history is repeated if one does not learn from it – Leah Kaminsky has given us a character who travels a long journey toward ending a destructive cycle and reentering life. L’Chaim!