Home  \  Authors  \  Authors  \  Shifra Horn  \ 

Four Mothers

Shifra Horn

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.

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 

Shifra Horn has amazed the critics... The novel has been praised to the heavens...Rarely is a novel as stirring as Four Mothers. The reader can feel the old stones of Jerusalem, sense the smells, almost touch the women. It is enchanting, almost stunning. 


Poignant, earthy and engaging.

Daily Telegraph


Shifra Horn spins a magic web.

Jewish Telegraph


A rich and magical tale.

The Bookseller


A novel that is palpable…filled with voices and suggestiveness.

La Stampa

Four Mothers
Title Four Mothers
Author’s Last Name Horn
Author's First Name Shifra
Language(s) English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Turkish
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Sifriat Maariv
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1996
Publisher 2 (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2014
No. Pages 263 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Arba Imahot
Representation Represented by ITHL


English: New York, St. Martin`s Press, 1999; pback: 2000; London, Piatkus, 1999; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014

Italian: Rome, Fazi, 2000; 2002
German: Munich, btb, 2000
Dutch: Amsterdam, Archipel/Arbeiderspers, 2000; pback: 2002; Amsterdam, Muntinga, 2006
French: Paris, Fayard, 2001
Turkish: Istanbul, Apollon, 2010

Azeri: Baku, Alatoran, 2015


Read more
Take a look at our latest catalogue!