Judith Teitelman is the author of the novel, ‘Guesthouse for Ganesha’, a riveting story of lost love, survival and spiritual awakening.
In 1923, Esther Grünspan, a seventeen-year-old Jewish girl, arrives in Germany with a broken heart. Thus begins her twenty-two-year ordeal through the holocaust and World War II when she has to assume new identities to hide her Jewish heritage, and move often through Europe to stay alive.
Esther’s pragmatism, hardened heart and masterful tailoring skills are her assets through her travails. But unknown to her, Esther’s biggest asset is the protection of Lord Ganesha, as she moves from one dangerous situation to the other, until she reaches her final destination, India.
Written with great attention to detail, Teitelman breathes life into Esther’s story, deftly weaving Hindu beliefs with the history of the holocaust. One cannot help but root for the stony-hearted protagonist, whose story unfolds in the voice of Ganesha.
In this interview with Veena Rao, Teitelman talks about the genesis of her novel, the making of Esther, and her own connection with Ganesha.