On 27 November 2019 the British Georgian Society and Pushkin House present a discussion and reading from Nino Haratischvili’s internationally bestselling novel The Eighth Life (for Brilka).
At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian Empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified: this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste …
Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the centre of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.
Tumbling down the years, and across vast expanses of longing and loss, generation after generation of this compelling family hears echoes and sees reflections. Great characters and greater relationships come and go and come again; the world shakes, and shakes some more, and the reader rejoices to have found at last one of those glorious old books in which you can live and learn, be lost and found, and make indelible new friends.
Nino Haratischvili will be in conversation with Tom de Waal of the British Georgian Society on the subject of her book and the wider historical narratives it explores, accompanied by readings from the book's English translators, Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin.
Ticket price includes a glass of Georgian wine.
Nino Haratischvili was born in Georgia in 1983, and is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and theatre director. At home in two different worlds, each with their own language, she has been writing in both German and Georgian since the age of twelve. In 2010, her debut novel Juja was nominated for the German Book Prize, as was her most recent Die Katze und der General in 2018. In its German edition, The Eighth Life was a bestseller, and won the Anna Seghers Prize, the Lessing Prize Stipend, and the Bertolt Brecht Prize 2018. It is being translated into many languages, and has already been a major bestseller on publication in Holland, Poland, and Georgia. In English, The Eighth Life is published by Scribe.
Tom de Waal is a senior fellow with Carnegie Europe based in London, specializing in Eastern Europe, Russia and the South Caucasus. He reported on Russia as a journalist in the 1990s for the Times and the Moscow Times, twice worked for the BBC World Service and has written on Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan for more than 20 years. He is the author of four books about the region, including The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, second edition, 2018). Tom is a board member of the Britain Georgian Society and one of the judges for the 2020 EBRD Literature Prize.