‘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.’ Brigitte Woman.
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?
‘What makes a person?’ asks the narrator of Paula, as she sets out on a quest for the woman behind her elusive late grandmother. A memoir written not to reminisce, but to smash the silence that sneaks up on all families ‘like a virus’: this is autofiction at its most meaningful, tapping into her child’s spry imagination to fill in the gaps of wizened adult memory. There is so much clear-headed and effortless wisdom in Paula, and we have Katy Derbyshire to thank for an English text that reads just as clearly and effortlessly.’Sophie Hughes, translator of Fernanda Melchor
Winner of the Hans Fallada Prize 2018