Sandra Hoffmann's "Paula" is a moving piece of autofiction about the writer's relationship to her grandmother, a devout Swabian Catholic who refused to reveal who fathered her child in 1946. Growing up in a family where silence reigns, Hoffmann asks: What kind of person, what kind of writer, does this environment produce?
Sandra Hoffmanns "Paula" ist ein bewegendes Stück Autofiktion über das Verhältnis der Schriftstellerin zu ihrer Großmutter - einer gläubigen, schwäbischen Katholikin, die sich bis zu ihrem Lebensende weigerte, zu enthüllen, wer ihr Kind im Jahre 1946 gezeugt hat. In einer Familie aufgewachsen, in der die Stille herrscht, fragt Hoffmann: Welche Art von Person, welche Art von Autorin produziert eine solche Umgebung?
'Sandra Hoffmann is one of Germany's most exciting contemporary writers. [...] An incredibly dense, finely woven text that immediately grabs you and pulls you mercilessly in.'
'[Hoffmann] creates a biography that goes beyond the individual destiny of the cleaning lady Paula. [...] A clever and touching book of memories.'
'Paula is a touching piece of contemporary history, in which the writer artfully links reality and fiction and sketches a cautious portrait of a woman who had to deal with repeated blows of fate during World War II and the post-war era.'
Judges' statement, Hans Fallada Prize 2017
'Sandra Hoffmann's new book Paula revolves undisguisedly around her own childhood, her difficult grandmother. Despite its introspection, we also find out plenty about our own society, about war and trauma.'
'Sandra Hoffmann approaches what nobody speaks about. The scraps of memory, tiny imaginings that form a leifmotif in the book. [...] The narrator refuses to sugar-coat a thing. That too makes this small book a big reading experience.'
'Paula is not only a reconstruction, it is also the author's way of writing herself free. That is both tragic and fascinating, since Sandra Hoffmann knows how to create a whole family history using a few photos and impressive scenes.'