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Four Mothers

This remarkable saga opens in the second half of the 19th century in the old, superstitious Jewish community of Jerusalem, and tells the life stories of four larger-than-life women and their rather pathetic families. The fifth and final woman in the matriarchal dynasty, Amal, recounts this tale of amazing events and family secrets some one hundred years later. The central character is Sarah, the narrator’s great-grandmother, who had magic powers. Through it all, the women – each of whom is a unique, independent, eccentric figure – are the main source of survival and power. They need this superhuman strength to combat the family curse. Indeed, for four generations, the weak and anaemic men left their women after they had given birth to a girl or an ailing son. Amal is the first to break the curse. Yet even she is fated to raise her son alone.

While telling the story, the narrator touches on famous historic personalities and events, but the political message is subdued. Even the feminist message is toned down and secondary.

Azeri, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Turkish
Title Four Mothers
Writer's Last Name Horn
Writer's First Name Shifra
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter, Sifriat Maariv
No. Pages 263pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Arba Imahot
  • “ Horn vividly brings to life Jerusalem’s residential neighborhoods, but her characters are epic heroines….That the tale is dense and sincere is part of its charm. ”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “ A lively, reader friendly tale effectively flavored with atmospheric detail and fascinating chunks of Israeli folklore and myth. ”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Poignant, earthy and engaging.”