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The Waiting Room MP3 CD – Unabridged, 26 July 2016
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- Publisher : Audible Studios on Brilliance; Unabridged edition (26 July 2016)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1522642846
- ISBN-13 : 978-1522642848
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 1.59 x 13.97 cm
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Top reviews from Australia
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During this day, Dina is accompanied by her long-dead mother, who like Samantha’s mother Endora, appears when least expected to give sometimes sage, though often unwelcome, advice. “Her mother’s ghost is like a faithful dog. Difference is, though, you can train a dog to heel.” Dina is reminded of their protected life growing up where her mother always had one eye over the shoulder at the horrors of her past and a suitcase “permanently packed, stashed away in the cupboard, just in case”. And from the back seat of the car or the aisles of the supermarket, her ghostly mother reminds her of stories she would rather forget, of the holocaust, the losses, the pain and awful choices. “She ran from the memory of her mother, who used to shop at the supermarket on Glenhuntly Road by day and trudge through heavy snows of Bergen-Belsen at night.”
Kamisky weaves these three stories as tightly as the braided strands of a challah, so that sometimes you can barely see where one strand finishes and the next takes over. But her real trick has been to add what she has called her “grace notes”; in musical terms, a fleeting and minute note placed before a regular note. These notes are sprinkled liberally through the story, like raisins through the challah, to surprise, divert and charm us as we wait for the story to progress. These little vignettes speak to Kaminsky’s great powers of observation (and the note book that she, as a doctor in Haifa herself, apparently took with her at all times).
At one point in the story, Dina rushes to the shoemaker in the old Arab shuk to repair a heel which, on this of all days, has broken off. While bomb alarms and evacuations proceed outside, the old shoemaker continues patiently with his task. Kaminsky paints for us such an evocative picture that we feel we are standing there beside her in the old marketplace. “Boxes of nails and shoelaces, a pair of worn-out satin ladies shoes, a blue leather baby’s boot, a blurred black-and-white photo of a young girl with curls swept back from her forehead, a twenty-year-old Haifa telephone book, a clock with hands frozen at twelve o’clock.”
A review of Richard Flanagan’s Booker-proze winning “Narrow Road to the Deep North” says “Despite the novel’s epic sprawl it retains the delicate vignettes that characterise Flanagan’s work, those beautiful brush strokes of poignancy and veracity that remain in the reader’s mind long afterwards.” Kaminsky shows exactly this same touch, which makes “The Waiting Room” not only an outstanding work but a pure delight to read. She has written that this book took her more than ten years to produce. I hope we don’t have to wait as long for her next.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
> I loved every minute. It felt like we were having an intense conversation and I was accompanying you on an incredible journey.
> There are parts of the book that I found so extraordinary they took my breath away. It is such a compelling story - important and relevant. I so related to having conversations with a dead mother.