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3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  714 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
This heart-warming, charming and clever first novel dips into the lives of each of the inhabitants of a village in Israel.

It is 1995 and Noa and Amir, a student couple, have decided to move in together. Noa is studying photography in Jerusalem and Amir is a psychology student in Tel Aviv. They choose a small apartment in a village in the hills, midway between the two citie
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Chatto & Windus (first published 2004)
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Kathy I'd say it's neither one. It has depressing moments, and it has uplifting moments - much like life. Overall, it left me saying "OK, they all got their…moreI'd say it's neither one. It has depressing moments, and it has uplifting moments - much like life. Overall, it left me saying "OK, they all got their acts together finally."(less)

Community Reviews

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Dec 09, 2010 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Hadassa
Shelves: israel
The original Hebrew title of this book, arbaa batim ve-gaagua (four homes and longing), is a far better description of its story. One home belongs to Noa, a photography student, and Amir, her boyfriend studying psychology, who have decided to move in together and found an apartment to rent. The second home is that of their landlords, Moshe and Sima, a married couple not much older than Noa and Amir who have two young children. In the third home, a boy named Yotam has just lost his beloved older ...more
Jul 03, 2008 Karen rated it liked it
Recommended to Karen by: My grandmother
Shelves: read-in-hebrew
So the first question that came to my (actually Anthony's) mind when I started reading this book was, WTF, did my grandmother ghost-write this thing? There are several reasons to believe that she did: (a) she is a relatively successful writer (mainly of children's books) in Israel, (b) she recommended this book to me, bought me a copy four years ago and proceeded to ask me several times whether I'd read it yet, (c) for no particular reason, the author points out that one of the characters works ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non posso farci niente, Nevo mi piace sempre e sempre di più. In alcuni passaggi mi ritrovo a leggere esattamente quello che vorrei leggere e come vorrei leggerlo. Sviscera questioni profonde e intime con una naturalezza incredibile. Niente giri di parole, niente commenti, niente frasi altisonanti. Ti spiattella la storia così com'è usando uno stile e una scrittura mai uguali a sé stessi e il tutto risulta straordinariamente credibile, reale, affascinante ed emozionante.
Qui la sua voce più inter
Feb 13, 2014 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's clear that Eshkol Nevo has an interesting, emotional, and moving narrative to tell, one that delves deeply into the lives of an eclectic collection of people. Unfortunately, a few technical things about the way in which Nevo went about it threw me off and left me wanting.

There's no definitive divide between character perspectives, and while the characters clearly have different beliefs and ways of thinking, the small breaks weren't enough for me to easily follow the story nor separate the c
Jun 15, 2010 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dalkey-archive
great series by Dalkey Archive, the Hebrew Literature Series, this one about a young university going couple who move to a small town outside Jerusalem because it so much more affordable. Also, this is their first time cohabitating. So the elements of small town life, young coupledom, Israelis and Palestinians, dead soldiers, settler atrocities, bus bombs, all the fun stuff by the Med. This is 4 stars because of the great characters, most times very funny, even antic, action, meditations on love ...more
Sep 30, 2008 Avital rated it it was amazing
Shelves: israeli
A couple of students moves into a simple neighborhood near Jerusalem. A friend of theirs sends them letters from his travels. The house owners are only a bit older than they are, but very different from them. The parents of the house owner live in a house whose Arab residents ran away from fifty years earlier, and now this family's son wants in. Each of these characters tells us about his/her relationships and about close and far happenings. At first it's a little confusing, but once you get a h ...more
Moshe Mikanovsky
Feb 22, 2016 Moshe Mikanovsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hebrew, israel
ספר מקסים! הכי אהבתי את הגעגוע בסוף. היה מקבל ממני חמישה כוכבים אם נבו היה מוריד את החרוזים המעצבנים שהופיעו פתאום בחלק מהקטעים שנכתבו בגוף שלישי, וכמו כן אם היה יותר ברור בכל קטע שנכתב בגוף ראשון מי לעזאזל כותב את זה. הרבה פעמים הייתי צריך לקרוא פעמיים משפט ראשון ושני בקטע וזה קוטע את רצף ההנאה
Mar 29, 2014 Fragmentage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, very Israeli tale of several families whose stories touch and interweave throughout the novel. I highly recommend it to everyone who likes to get into a character's soul and appreciates to read about real life struggles of ordinary people.


Vier Häuser und eine Sehnsucht ist Eshkol Nevos erster Roman und wurde in Israel ein umwerfender Bestseller. Er erzählt aus verschiedenen Erzählperspektiven ganz normale israelische Geschichten von vier Familien und schafft es mit nur wenigen Pro

Nostalgia:desiderio malinconico e violento di tornare in patria, ossia di rivedere i luoghi dove passammo l'infanzia e dove albergano oggetti cari, il quale è cagione di profonda tristezza e di tale sconcerto nell'economia animale, da produrre persino la morte.

Una definizione (un po' antiquata nella scelta dei vocaboli) di quello che il titolo evoca e di quello che in queste pagine di Nevo potrete trovare.
Nella storia di Amir e in quella di Noa;
nella lotta di Yotam e in quella dei suoi
Jan 22, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
This debut novel shows a writer with great promise and a real knack for forming his characters with an impressive depth. The plot unfolds nicely as a young student couple move into a quiet neighbourhood that's meant to be a compromise - halfway between Jerusalem & Tel Aviv where they each study. Around them, the lives of their neighbours are woven into the story. It's set against a backdrop of late '95/early '96 Israel - the time of Rabin's assassination, the crumbling 'peace process', and a ...more
Ori Pilo Kerman
Aug 06, 2012 Ori Pilo Kerman rated it really liked it
Shelves: israeli-writers
A book about love and relationships filled with Israeli essence of the year 1995, while in the background are the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the suicide bombers that terrorized the country. The story is being told by constantly switching the teller, whether it is a personal view of one of the characters or "the narrator". This is done in a very fluent way that just felt right.
Including many relevant issues of Israeli couples (and, of course, general issues that anyone can relate
May 17, 2010 Baklavahalva rated it really liked it
So many things to loooove about this novel. It made me cry in a means of transportation (a plane for once, not a train). It's polyphonic -- different characters alternate telling the story as it progresses. Everyone's emotionally complex, yet loveable; there's even a Palestinian character just like that. Lots of language play. Epistolary parts. Rock songs. It has one of the best, most convincing depictions of a romantic couple interacting that I've ever read. Not to forget that the translator ha ...more
Jul 21, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: intelligent empathic readers.
Read my review on New York Journal of Books:
Nov 17, 2014 Emina rated it really liked it
Nostalgia, un sentimento forte, provato spesso in questi anni lontano da casa e il mio paese d’origine, ritrovato tra le pagine dell’omonimo romanzo dello scrittore israeliano Eshkol Nevo.

Nostalgia, raccontata attraverso le varie voci narranti, chiassose, piene di emozioni che vibrano nell’aria ed immagini che, come quando costruisci un mosaico o un puzzle, si incastreranno alla perfezione solo alla fine.

Passo dopo passo, è una lunga strada da percorrere ma vale la pena farlo, conosciamo i pro
Mar 30, 2012 Garry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Homesick largely takes place in an apartment block in a place translated as 'the Castel', just outside Jerusalem. A little research suggests that the Castel is Al Qastal, a Palestinian village that was 'depopulated' and subsumed by Israel in 1948, and is now an outer suburb of Jerusalem.

There are multiple stories being told in Homesick, but they are all explorations on the theme of longing. An old Palestinian man longing for a time before the invasion, a child longing for the love of his parent
Dec 23, 2012 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
A fellow writer in my critique group suggested I read this (and lent me her copy) because Eshkol Nevo tries something akin to what I am trying in my current work in progress: multiple first-person points of view.

My friend admitted that she hadn't made through the book, and I can understand why. It's a demanding read. I found the first 40-50 pages somewhat dizzying, as I was tossed from one character's point of view to another with no introduction. But I stuck with it and very soon found myself
Paolo Gianoglio
Aug 30, 2014 Paolo Gianoglio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anche questa volta ho letto i commenti prima di scrivere, e ho notato che – con mio stupore – quasi nessuno ha enfatizzato la coralità di questo romanzo. Quasi 350 pagine di un romanzo scritto tutto in prima persona da tanti personaggi, che diventano tutti protagonisti. Le storie si intrecciano, e ognuno racconta la propria parte, con il proprio punto di vista. Senza enfasi, con semplicità, vediamo crescere una storia collettiva che ricorda una sinfonia, dove ogni strumento deve suonare la propr ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Gordon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A truly excellent book. I picked up "Homesick" because I was curious to read an example of Israeli literature for an "insider's look" at the country and its culture. Nevo didn't disappoint: his sensitive handling of the Palestinian issue via the character Siddiq and unprejudiced description of the Orthodox-secular tension in one Jewish family are well worth reading for their own sakes. But far more important than either of these things is his sometimes touching, sometimes funny and always though ...more
Marah Khalifah
Jul 29, 2015 Marah Khalifah rated it liked it
Let me start by saying that the title in both Arabic and Hebrew is far more telling; Four Houses and Nostalgia.
First off, I was really puzzled while reading the novel, it poses many questions regarding the relationship between time and space\ people, land and identity. It was polyphonic, and this added a lot to the value, and made me question the reality of things; most of the actions were narrated from more than one perspective, even the trifle and very small details. In my opinion, this is an
Nov 04, 2011 Yael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israel, in-english, novel
Like some other reviewers, I had to reread the first few pages because I got confused by the multiple "I" but very soon got caught up into the story.
I had this feeling of familiarity with the characters, as if they were neighbours, that I don't have with books in other settings.
I was a bit concerned at some stage by the introspection of Amir (no, please! not a remake of Anna Karenine!) but it was short and finally to the point.
As noted by another reviewer, there were slight incoherencies in the
Mar 17, 2013 Luna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'amore destabilizzante. Quello che se c'� soffoca, ma se ti allontani poi non vivi pi�. Libro complesso, una narrazione spezzata in 6 parti (almeno), i punti di vista di un ragazzino, di un uomo, di una donna, di un marito, di una moglie, e di un muratore. E ognuno di loro compone, raccontando senza pudore i propri sentimenti, questa storia, una storia semplice, un pezzo di vita quotidiana. Ambientato in un Israele dove i fanatici fanno la guerra, e le persone normali, che pure accoglierebbero ...more
Apr 24, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Debbie by: This is part of an Israeli collection
This book started slowly, maybe in part because you need to get used to very abrupt transitions between the point of view of different neighbors. Before you know anyone well this is irritating and stops you from getting to know anyone. But once you know everyone which goes hand and hand with caring about these wonderful characters, switching no longer bothers you and you gather the details that unite the neighbors lives.four neighbors live in a small building between Tel Aviv and Jerusalum. They ...more
Alexander Lesher
Feb 19, 2011 Alexander Lesher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read. Definitely reminded me of Amos Oz, but it is the focus of relationships in an area with such a unique chaos as a setting. Like another review I read, I did not want this to end and would like to continue my encounters with these characters. It took me a while before I recognized how the narrative was working as it could be a bit tricky, but I finally got a hold of it and it makes me consider going back and rereading the first50 pages.
Andy Chirls
Jun 15, 2010 Andy Chirls rated it it was ok
Some people like books with connected, short vignettes about people whose lives intersect, and some people don't. I confess that I don't. The people were too predictable, and the development of the book became tedious. It was one of those books that I found myself skimming. The scene where the displaced Palestinian goes into his mother's former house was delicious, and i did laugh out loud. It was a bright spot in a book that seemed, for the most part, to be drab.
Apr 10, 2008 Yaakov rated it really liked it
This book is written very creatively, using multiple first- and third-hand accounts of a complex story about a small neighborhood in Kastel, a town outside of Jerusalem. At first the book seems to follow multiple diverging story lines; by the end of the book the stories have become intertwined. Darkly funny and slightly pessimistic, it is still a fun book to read.
Jan 03, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book! It was the first book I read after arriving home from Israel this summer and it was nice to get some perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I was prompted to do more research after I finished. I only gave it four stars before some of the language is graphic.
Nov 14, 2009 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Yet another wonderful book translated from Hebrew. I only wish my language skills were up to reading the originals. The translation is beautiful, it's lyrical and moving. The voices of the different characters are captured so well. The sense of longing in the book really got to me. Knowing the places and 'types' that are being written about definitely adds to the enjoyment.
Jul 01, 2013 Chandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This book drew me in. The insight into each character's feelings and inner thoughts was very well developed. I enjoyed the layered stories in this novel. My favorite character was the guy writing from South America. My favorite scenes were those that described Noa's photography and her artistic views. Overall the novel is sensitive and intimate.
Mar 03, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I loved this book and am perhaps churlish not to give it 5 stars. It has a humour and honesty about life that it very engaging. The central theme of displacement is explored in fascinating ways and the narrative threads, including that of a boy in a grieving family, a psychiatry student's work and two young couple's relationships unfold brilliantly. Great.
Aug 07, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book. It was exactly the book I was looking to read when I got back from Israel, and I finally found it. It's heartbreaking, hopeful, a bit maddening, yet full of humor. And I think the next time I have to talk about my feelings on West Bank settlements, I will just point people to Saddiq's story in this book.
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Eshkol Nevo was born in Jerusalem in 1971. He studied copywriting at the Tirza Granot School and psychology at Tel Aviv University. Today, Nevo owns and co-manages the largest private creative writing school in Israel and is considered the “godfather” of many upcoming young Israeli writers. He has published novels, short stories and nonfiction. His novels have all been top bestsellers.
Nevo, whose
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“We were good together. Not in retrospect, not out of nostalgia. Not in anticipation. But here and now good. Very good.” 7 likes
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