Guesthouse for Ganesha, the much-anticipated debut novel by Judith Teitelman, a longstanding member of the Cultural Weekly community, has set a publication date of May 7.
Weaving Eastern beliefs and perspectives with Western realities and pragmatism, Guesthouse for Ganesha is a tale of love, loss, and spirit reclaimed. In 1923, seventeen-year-old “Esther Grünspan arrives in Köln with a hardened heart as her sole luggage.” Thus, she 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.
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.
Kirkus Reviews praised the novel, saying, “Teitelman paints an intensely beautiful world in which different cultures merge in surprising ways. Although it centers on what may seem like an odd pairing—a Jewish mortal and a Hindu god—the novel weaves the two characters together in a very natural way, as Esther, withdrawn from those around her, is shown to need Ganesha as a protective, loving companion. Teitelman’s deft execution as she explores this relationship is a major factor in why this unusual novel works so well.”