Jump to Content
Bestseller; English translation available (for publishers only)

Scorpion Dance [Promenade à Deux]

Orion Herman was born in Jerusalem in 1967, after his father fell in battle – the Six-Day War. The house in which he grew up had belonged to an Arab who fled during the War of Independence, leaving behind an Arabic-speaking parrot. Two women raised Orion: his mother Aviva who was found in a Polish convent at the end of the World War II and came to Israel as a child without  identity, and his grandmother Johanna who came from Germany with little Ulrich, Orion’s father, after the establishment of the state. But who was Johanna, and was Ulrich really her son? Orion will find the answers only when he grows up. To him, Johanna was a cherished and admired grandmother; others close to her saw her as an honorable woman, a dedicated midwife saturated in German culture, who had sworn never to set foot on German soil again.

After Johanna dies, Orion leaves his childhood home and moves into a new house with the parrot. He becomes a librarian at the National Library and travels around the country in a beaten up, gaily painted ice cream van that serves as a mobile library of books that the Nazis used to burn. He changes women like socks until he meets his one-and-only Christina-Anna, a German woman with a voice like flowing chocolate. Orion falls in love with her, and when she returns to her homeland he follows her there to get her back.

Shifra Horn’s novel is a colorful journey filled with the sounds and sights of Jerusalem and its intriguing characters, a journey that shifts from passionate remembrance of the past to the need to forget it.

Title Scorpion Dance [Promenade à Deux]
Writer's Last Name Horn
Writer's First Name Shifra
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
No. Pages 327pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Mechol Ha-Akrabim
  • “In Scorpion Dance, Shifra Horn has executed an enthralling literary act in an unusual manner … It is written with sensitivity and delicacy from the perspective of a member of the second generation after the Holocaust. Very slowly, as one reads the book, the overt reality emerges: memories of the past are peeled away, secrets are revealed …In a precise and sober process a dense thicket envelops and entraps the hero of the book, and with him the reader. .. The multi-faceted tension between remembering and forgetting is a principal component in the poetic realism of Scorpion Dance. The novel is branded onto the memory as an unusual novel and it constitutes a valuable contribution not only to the literature of the Holocaust, but to Hebrew literature as a whole. ”

    The Culture Minister's Zionism Prize Committee
  • “… A minuet of love and regret. […] “Scorpion Dance” is deeply immersed into Shifra Horn’s story and that of her country. But it speaks to all, intensely. ”

    Francesca Paci, La Stampa
  • “When one reads a novel as beautiful as “Scorpion Dance” by Shifra Horn time really stops. ”

    Translator and author Elda Martone
  • “The book gives an account of an impossible love affair … With linguistic precision and descriptive wealth … The plot is replete with passions.”