Andrea Paluch

The Hyenas' Scream

Andrea Paluch/Robert Habeck
München: Piper, 2003
302 S.
ISBN 3-492-04611-8
Paperback Edition: Piper, 2005

Windhoek, German Southwest Africa in 1899: Young Arabella arrives as a recruited bride in the German colony Southwest Africa. But instead of living a dreamed of romantic and exotic life, she finds herself in a rough and all around hostile world of men. From then on, she lives together with her unmerciful husband Frank in the barren wasteland of the Namibian desert. After five years of marriage and during the summit of the Herero uprisings, Frank is murdered by the rebels in a violent revenge act and Arabella is abducted by their leader Assa Riarua. When she returns to Windhoek after two months, she discovers that she is expecting a child from the Herero man. To protect herself, Arabella decides to marry the German officer Paul von Kavea who truly loves her. Since he doubts that the child is his, the following months become a crucial test for the couple. "If the child is white, it's yours, if it's black, you throw it in the Atlantic", advises Paul's superior. Nele, a light-skinned girl, is born. This is the beginning of a proud German family story, which in truth is based on a lie.

Hamburg, Germany in 1954: Nele von Kavea, female Senator in Hamburg, is called to the hospital to be present during her daughter's Kriemhild delivery. On the childbed, she discovers that her grandchild is black. Nele imputes that her daughter has betrayed her husband, a wealthy and renowned ship-owner, with a "negro". To release the family from this shame, she decides to give her grandchild Hera to an orphanage. The Senator uses her influence and Kriemhild is told that her child was stillborn.

Windhoek, Namibia in 1990: Nele von Kavea visits her coloured great-grandchild Cosima and confesses her family lineage and wants to transfer the family inheritance, the farm Crewo in Namibia, to her. The two women fly, each of them on her own, to Windhoek and meet at the very place where everything had begun over 100 years ago. For one last time, this place becomes the scene of tragic events.

    Andrea Paluch / Robert Habeck:
    Der Schrei der Hyänen (The Hyenas' Scream)

    With "Schrei der Hyänen", Andrea Paluch and Robert Habeck wrote a remarkable novel which in about 300 pages tells an exciting family story spanning over the last 100 years.More ...