Is there really such a thing as a family curse? The tale of Four Mothers captivates readers with fantastic characters, magical events, foreign colors and scents while telling the story of a dynasty of women cursed to raise their daughters on their own. This is a vibrant first person recounting of matriarchal dynasty with rich strong women who pass their material and spiritual legacy on from one generation to the next. The last woman in the line, Amal, documents the wisdom of her female predecessors from the beginning of memory. The family has known riches and fame as well as poverty and bad fortune, but women have always survived, and prospered.

The epic drama echoes the wondrous realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and demonstrates a talent for lavish details. The realistic yet fantastic style and story question the cultural inferiority and oppression of women as well as the role of the family curse within contemporary Israeli society. The story depicts Jerusalem from the end of the 19th century to present day, covering the Turkish and British rule over the ancient city. At the same time it presents an alternative, personal perspective to the history of Jerusalem over the past century. The colorful and rich work presents a precise historiography of the period from woman’s viewpoint. Four Mother has been awarded several prizes.


“You will find yourself unable to put the book down.”

– Jewish News – London

“Spanning the generations, Shifra Horn spins a magic web.”

– Jewish Telegraph – London

“A rich and magical tale.”

– The Book Sellers

“This is not the kind of magic realism in which characters fly, yet the lives of Horn’s female characters are punctuated with unlikely coincidences and otherworldly powers.”

– New York Time Book Review

“Horn has an unflinching and fertile imagination thanks to which fantasy and fact blend seamlessly, her most endearing quality is that she’s not afraid to take risks.”

– The Jerusalem Post  Helen Kaye July 1999

“A magnificent book that explores the lives of four generations of women with humor, compassion, and deep understanding. A joy to read. Four Mothers is an unforgettable literary experience that should not be missed.”

– Naomi Regan author of The Ghost of Hanna Mendes


Publisher: Kineret-Zmora-Bitan
Year: 1999
Translated to: English, French, Dutch, German, Italian and Turkish.

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