One day, Giora, a veterinary surgeon by profession, discovers that his wife Sharon has been publishing love poems under a pen-name in a youth magazine. A few hours later, Sharon is killed in a car crash and the newly widowed Giora is left alone with a little daughter.
Eliahu, a crotchety Tel Avivian, shoots off a series of complaints to the city deputy engineer complaining that his upstairs neighbor has built a terrace without a permit. When the official comes to check it out, he falls in love with the beautiful neighbor.
On her 17th birthday, Nira writes a blog revealing that on the day she turned six her father left her in a forest on the road to Jerusalem, alone at night in an abandoned truck. “I am not your father,” he told her, and returned home alone.
What connects all of these characters and events? The three plots that make up the novel take place years apart from each other, but link up and coalesce at the end, and they are all founded upon lethally powerful love and jealousy, betrayals and dark secrets. What begins as an apparently routine correspondence between a prying citizen, secretly in love with his neighbor, and a conscientious municipal clerk, uncovers a great underlying drama.
Amir Ziv, in his debut novel, fluctuates with surprising skill and much talent from comical scenes to dramatic climaxes, and he integrates characters from several generations inextricably into the plot. From page to page, the reader is carried along together with them, and is entertained, jolted, intrigued and engrossed, right up to the last line.
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The book is a well-honed literary and artistic treatment of fundamental issues in the ongoing tragedy of Israeli masculinity. The transition between the generations of inadequate fathers to the generations of flawed males they produce ripens into a tragedy that is powerfully illuminated by the movement between the different parts of the book. The morphological and stylistic transition between the parts of the book is a magnificent artistic achievement … Amir Ziv has written a book that is equally enjoyable and disconcerting to read.
The Sapir Prize Committee, 2017
Four Fathers is a spellbinding book that is at the same time both disturbing and enjoyable. It reads effortlessly and in its three parts it tells three maturely drawn tales that are connected to each other with fine and sophisticated threads … Aside from Ziv’s abundant literary talent and his ability to tell a story seamlessly, the novel is compelling thanks to the way the three stories dovetail with each other and the ironical and terrible symmetry that emerges between them … The penetrating observation of parenting, family, marriage is part of the strength of the book and of what makes it so engrossing … How good it is to discover a new and promising Israeli writer, who leaves the reader looking forward expectantly to his forthcoming books.
Ariel Horowitz, Makor Rishon
Ziv succeeds in a very impressive manner to clear a way through the entangled path of the forging of a new Israeli masculinity.
Yuval Avivi, Haaretz
Ziv entices the reader onward delightfully; but gradually, without letting on, he steps up the pace until he is careering ahead into a spinning, ever more powerful whirlwind and the reader finds himself dragged screaming behind him. There isn’t a dull moment in Ziv’s book … Four Fathers, along with being a profound work, is also a book with strong elements of suspense … Ziv’s ability to lightly slip into his many and varied characters’ shoes is more impressive than anything else. From each one of them he produces an authentic and credible voice in an effortless manner … This is in part a hair-raising book, and for the most part suspenseful. And that is a refreshing surprise in a first book.
Darya Maoz, Israel Hayom
Four Fathers is a literary gem that is remarkable in our parts, and everywhere else too. It’s beauty lies first of all in its music. It is a multicolored work that traverses a number of decades … Amir Ziv is a writer who is not inferior to many of the best in the world, past and present. For all of the elements, all the symbols and all of the correct and precise emphases appear in the pages of Four Fathers.
Lior Kesos, Walla
A compelling book that you read with fervor, as if it were a suspense novel and that remains with you long after you have finished.
Author Liad Shoham
Four Fathers is a surprising book in which a different wind prevails … The writer has done a splendid job and succeeded in putting life and interest into a painful and authentic story, one that you cannot stop reading until you have finished it.
Author Nurit Zarchi
Four Fathers marvelously combines spectacular twists and gloomy deepness… The connection between the stories is a complex and clever game of identities.
Ran Bin-Nun, Yedioth Ahronoth
This is one of the most riveting books I have read recently, a harrowing anatomy of a betrayal out of which no one emerges intact. Unlike many contemporary texts, whose writers seem to have forgotten the art of storytelling, the plot of this book is so thrilling that I couldn’t put it down. The skillful unfolding of the plot reminded me of writers like Ian McEwan, and the ability to depict the pathology of a family echoed the marvelous novels of A. B. Yehoshua … An impressive first book.
Prof. Michael Gluzman
The writer has done his job well … The beginning doesn’t foreshadow what follows and certainly doesn’t give away the ending. It poses as an entertaining story … but gradually, from under the ostensibly normal covering, out come the secrets, the lies, the retaliations, the betrayals, the raw emotions, and a great darkness … Ziv plants his characters in the plot like human cultures in a Petri dish. Like subatomic particles they draw together and fly apart, creating movement, friction, tension and mainly pain.
Zohara Ron, Globes
A very surprising novel. The first surprise is that this is Amir Ziv’s first novel, although it is written with maturity and skill and it is clear that the author is a master of the secrets of his trade, knows how to maintain constant suspense, to daze his readers while at the same time to arouse in them the sense that they can rely on him. From the first pages it is already absolutely clear that the journey he is taking us on will not disappoint … A coherent work … The last part is literally breathtaking.
Ofra Offer Oren, Literary Blog
Read it! Amir Ziv is one of the most gifted writers I have come across… His first book elicits excitement … Breathtaking … Every father must read Four Fathers, and so must every mother, and also children who will be fathers or mothers.
Journalist Yoel Esteron
The book is splendidly written. It depicts characters with precision, very well and very convincingly.
Keren Neubach, Kol Israel 2
When I finished reading the book, I felt something I hadn’t felt in years – envy! … It’s been a long time since I encountered writing so refreshing, creative, original and intriguing … This book simply must be read, because it is outstanding.
Meira Barnea Goldberg, Melabes
An accomplished performance. A complex and riveting work. Recommended!
Gadi Eidelheit, Literary Blog
Ziv zigzags skillfully between moving and dramatic moments and comic episodes.
Maya Cohen, Hachaim Hatovim
A very good story. Run out and buy it!
Shiri Zuck, Channel 2 TV
Four Fathers puts the his emphasis on minor details no less than on the plot. It is very well written, and interesting in all of its parts.
Galit Hatan, Lady Globes
A surprising book. This is one of the few Israeli prose works that deals with fatherhood in such a revealing and painful manner – one that thoroughly rattles the reader.
Maya Guez, Magazina