Paula Ben-Gurion wanted to marry a man, but what she got was a state: a novel about an unusual and courageous woman.
PAULA ODER DIE SIEBEN FARBEN DER EINSAMKEIT
(Paula, or: The Seven Shades of Loneliness)
by Stephan Abarbanell
Blessing, March 2024
Paula grew up in Minsk, was sent to New York when she was young, dreamt of studying medicine and was a committed anarchist. But then she met her future husband, the founder of the state of Israel, David Ben-Gurion – and at the end of her life, she finds herself in a kibbutz in the Negev Desert. Her husband is expecting the arrival of his friend, Konrad Adenauer, who has just resigned as German Chancellor. Once again, it is down to Paula to organise the visit and arrange everything. Poverty, war, motherhood, and – again and again – loneliness: this novel is a memorial to a strong, courageous woman, who had to make many compromises in life, and became the First Lady of a country in which she did not believe. And who, even in old age, never stops doubting, searching and hoping.
Stephan Abarbanell was born in Brunswick in 1957 and grew up in Hamburg. He studied theology and general rhetoric in Hamburg, Tübingen and Berkeley. Abarbanell is now in charge of cultural affairs at rbb Broadcasting.