Georgian Literature Reading Series

July 10, 2021

As part of our mission to promote Georgian culture, we were pleased to launch the “Virtual Georgian Literature Reading Series.” The goal of the series is to create an informal and interactive forum for those with an interest in Georgian history and culture to read and discuss important Georgian books, both classic and contemporary.

Upcoming Edition
Mikheil Javakhishvili’s Kvachi Kvachantiradze

The upcoming edition of the series will discuss Mikheil Javakhishvili’s classic novel Kvachi Kvachantiradze. There will be a total of 3 meetings virtually via Zoom on Mondays from 7:30pm to 8:30pm ET on the following dates: March 28, April 11, and April 25. Members of the Association’s Board of Directors, Stephen Jones and Valerian Sikhuashvili, will lead the sessions. The discussion will be in English, though participants are welcome to read the novel in Georgian (can be accessed on Saba book app both as an e-book and an audiobook) or English (can be purchased on Amazon). There will be an optional additional session (Date and Time TBD) with the translator of the novel Donald Rayfield.

To make the meetings more interactive and informal, participants will be limited to 20. The deadline to sign up is February 25. You can sign up here.

— About the Author —
Mikheil Javakhishvili (Georgian: მიხეილ ჯავახიშვილი) (08 November 1880 – 30 September 1937) was a Georgian novelist who is regarded as one of the top twentieth-century Georgian writers. His first story appeared in 1903, but then the writer lapsed into a long pause before returning to writing in the early 1920s. His recalcitrance to the Soviet ideological pressure cost him life: he was executed during the Great Purge and his writings were banned for nearly twenty years.

— About the Book —
An epic landmark of Georgian literature, Javakhishvili’s novel was published in 1925, 12 years before its author’s murder in the Stalinist Purges; but given its treatment of the Russian elite, it’s a grim marvel he was able to escape the authorities so long. Kvachi Kvachantiradze is a born conman, a wily and indefatigable survivor—as much a distillation of the Georgian character as a great anti-hero in his own right. Beginning as a charismatic youth on the outskirts of Tbilisi, Kvachi demonstrates a taste for money and a talent for obtaining it, posing as a noble after traveling to Russia to seek his fortune.

— Additional/background Reading —
– Charles King. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus.
– Stephen Jones. The Making of Modern Georgia, 1918-2012: The First Georgian Republic and Its Successors.
– Stephen Kotkin. Stalin, Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928.

Past Edition
Nino Haratischvili’s The Eighth Life.

The first edition of the series discussed Nino Haratischvili’s internationally acclaimed novel The Eighth Life. Members of the Association’s Board of Directors, Stephen Jones and Valerian Sikhuashvili, led the sessions. The association will provide complimentary copies of the book to those who are currently undergraduate students.

— About the Book —
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 center 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.