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Tamara Walks on Water

The story of Tamara, who was born in 1913, sheds light on a fascinating period in the history of Eretz Israel. It is also the story of three generations of women in the town of Jaffa, where Jews and Arabs live side by side. The novel first focuses on Simcha, who was raped during a Russian pogrom and came to Eretz Israel alone and pregnant in 1900. Before giving birth to a feeble, hemophiliac baby girl, she marries a crippled young man who fell in love with her on the boat to Eretz Israel. When the daughter is 13, she falls in love, becomes pregnant, and gives birth to Tamara. Unfortunately, she dies during childbirth, and Tamara is raised by her grandmother, Simcha – a strong, independent woman who is incapable of showing love.

As an adult, Tamara in turn falls in love with a handsome, sensual Greek-Orthodox monk who lives in a Jaffa monastery and whose goal is to make as many women happy as possible. His life ends tragically when he drowns in the the Sea of Galilee, and it is only then that Tamara becomes truly aware, and links her destiny to a man who has loved her since childhood -Yusuf, or Yosef, in Hebrew – the son of a Jewish father and an Arab mother.

The novel colorfully reconstructs Eretz Israel in the early 20th century, combining major events (such as World War I) with their impact on the Jewish settlement and the beginning of the dispute between Jews and Palestinian Arabs – in Jaffa, among other places.

Dutch, English, French, Italian, Turkish
Title Tamara Walks on Water
Writer's Last Name Horn
Writer's First Name Shifra
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
No. Pages 352pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Tamara Holechet Al Ha-Mayim
  • “ The intermingling of fact and storytelling has a plausibility not achieved since Isaac Bashevis Singer… This is all quite brilliant. The author almost persuades you that ghosts can, after all, be appeased. ”

    The Independent
  • “ Shifra Horn once again demonstrates her triumphant talent as a storyteller... She presents a personal language that is rich, sensuous, colorful, and rich in metaphors, that captures the reader from the first sentence. ”

  • “ Shifra Horn’s novel is rich in flavors and aromas and vibrant in color. Lavish and luscious writing... The characters have real presence.. ”