The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky
Published November 15, 2016 by Harper Perennial
Genres Fiction, Contemporary
The Waiting Room unfolds over a day in the life of a young physician in contemporary Israel, who must cope with modern threats in the shadow of his parent’s’ horrific wartime pasts. A young doctor in Haifa, Israel, must come to terms with her family’s painful past and it’s lingering aftermath, as the conflict between Palestine and Israel reaches its height and the threat of a terrorist attack looms over the city. Born to two survivors of WWII, Dina has never been able to escape her parents’ history. Tortured by memories of Bergen-Belson, her mother leaves Dina to inherit her decades of trauma. Dina desperately anchors herself in family; a cherished son, a world-weary husband and a daughter on the way, as well as her work as a doctor, but she is struggling to cope, burdened by bother the very real anxieties of her daily life and also the shadows of her parents’ ghosts, who follow her wherever she goes. Dina fights to stay grounded in the here and now, even as challenges of motherhood and medicine threaten to overwhelm her. The Waiting Room weaves between Dina’s exterior and interior lives, straddling the present and the past, and building towards a profoundly dramatic climax that will remind readers of the fragility of human life.
Like the synopsis states, this book takes place over the course of one day in the life of Dina. During her shift at the medical clinic she work at, she sees a variety of patients with a variety of different problems. Dina’s mother has long since died, but no matter where she goes or what she does, she always feels her presence and can hear her mother telling her stories about her time in the Nazi concentration camps during WWII. This day also holds warnings of terrorist attacks in the city, which only adds to her stress and anxiety. She fears for the safety of not only herself, but her family and eventually leaves to go get her son from school, all well knowing that she could get caught in the cross fire of an impending terrorist bombing.
This book paints a picture of a day in the life of a doctor, wife & mother in modern day Israel. This book deals with a variety of different topics from marriage and family, to the violence and terrorism in this world, both past and present.Overall, I enjoyed this book and liked Dina as the narrator. She is trying to deal with so many different things during the course of this one day, all while being 8 months pregnant with her second child and finding that she is arguing with her husband, Eitan, more and more as the days go by. The only thing I didn’t really like is that the conversations we hear between Dina and her mother sometimes get a bit confusing and I found myself having to re-read a couple of sentences. Otherwise, this is a well written book with well developed characters and a wide variety of vivid emotions. Happy reading!