Guesthouse for Ganesha
Judith Teitelman (Author)
DescriptionIn 1923, seventeen-year-old Esther Grünspan arrives in Köln "with a hardened heart as her sole luggage." Thus begins a twenty-two-year journey, woven against the backdrops of the European Holocaust and the Hindu Kali Yuga (the "Age of Darkness" when human civilization degenerates spiritually), in search of a place of sanctuary. Throughout her travails, using cunning and shrewdness, Esther relies on her masterful tailoring skills to help mask her Jewish heritage, navigate war-torn Europe, and emigrate to India. Esther's traveling companion and the novel's narrator is Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu God worshipped by millions for his abilities to destroy obstacles, bestow wishes, and avenge evils. Impressed by Esther's fortitude and relentless determination, born of her deep--though unconscious--understanding of the meaning and purpose of love, Ganesha, with compassion, insight, and poetry, chooses to highlight her story because he recognizes it is all of our stories--for truth resides at the essence of its telling.
Weaving Eastern beliefs and perspectives with Western realities and pragmatism, Guesthouse for Ganesha is a tale of love, loss, and spirit reclaimed.
She Writes Press
May 07, 2019
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.5 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author
Judith Teitelman has straddled the worlds of arts, literature, and business since she was a teenager and worked her first job as a salesperson at a B. Dalton/Pickwick Bookstore. Life's journeys took her from bookstores to commercial fine art galleries to the nonprofit arts and cultural sector, in which she has worked as staff, consultant, and educator for more than three decades. Throughout this time, Teitelman continued her pursuit of all things literary. Guesthouse for Ganesha is her debut novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three beloved cats.
Shortlisted in the 2019 Sarton Women's Book Awards for Historical Fiction "Teitelman paints an intensely beautiful world in which different cultures merge in surprising ways. . . . A rich and moving story about an unlikely pair." --Kirkus Reviews ". . . a riveting story of lost love, survival, and spiritual awakening." --NRI Pulse, Home of the Indian American Family "From the dream-like pro-logue to the final epi-logue, this is a pow-er-ful and absorb-ing read--a nov-el writ-ten with love in the spir-it of heal-ing and renewal." --Jewish Book Council "Poignant and lyrical . . . Guesthouse for Ganesha is a huge literary success, from the skillful handling of plot elements to the meticulous weaving of historical elements into the story to the gorgeous prose." --Readers' Favorite, FIVE STAR review "This is stunning historical fiction about a long journey from hellish darkness to divine light and peace, presented by a highly skilled writer." --Historical Novel Society "A parable, a prayer, a piece of magic realism, Judith Teitelman's Guesthouse for Ganesha begins with the (improbable; wondrous) visit of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant deity, to strife-torn 1920s Köln, setting us off on a journey of love, grief, understanding. A feat of (and feast for) the imagination, the novel unfolds in ways at once heartfelt, surprising, inevitable. You will not be sorry you accepted this invitation to voyage." --Howard A. Rodman, Past President, Writers Guild of America West, screenwriter of Savage Grace and Joe Gould's Secret, author of Destiny Express, and professor at the University of Southern California) "Have you ever read a book that begins with the great Indian elephant god Ganesha dancing through the night with a spunky young German woman? Judith Teitelman's Guesthouse for Ganesha is a truly original novel. I was immediately hooked by that image with its blend of magic realism and a down-to-earth heroine who must grapple with abandonment and her own capacity for fortitude, all under the compassionate gaze of Ganesha, observing and guiding her with his 'surveillance of souls.' Teitelman yokes holocausts--both historical and personal--to compassion and possibility, giving us the timeless writerly gift of immersing this reader--and I'm sure many others--in a journey of renewal both archetypal and unprecedented." --Janet Sternburg, author of The Writer on Her Work, Phantom Limb, and White Matter "Esther's journey is compelling. I'm drawn into her character, fascinated that she is 'emotionally hardening' before my eyes. Yet there are these exquisite moments of her softening, succumbing, listening. I like the historical milieu, this eerie calm before the maelstrom of war, where an outsider can catalyze such irrational (and violent) race hatred. These pages are beautiful . . . Judith has breathed them into being." --Louise Steinman, author of The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation "Judith Teitelman's remarkable imagination produces the thrilling illusion of several layers of different lives. The way she honors her main character's indifference to human contact and emotion and then poetically leads her to a redemption is an act of cosmic chutzpah." --Sasha Anawalt, author, educator, and director of arts journalism master's programs at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism "Lyrical and moving, Guesthouse for Ganesha weaves a story of daring and courage in a world rent mad by war and destruction." --Gary Phillips, editor of The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir