No matter what they say about our shortened attention spans, the days of the sweeping multigenerational epic are not over.
The proof is in the pudding: The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili recounts a crucial period in history, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, through the lives of one exceptional family with a magical recipe for hot chocolate.
Scribe has published the English translation for the first time in Australia, and they were kind enough to send me a copy for review. This translation is the fine work of Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (#namethetranslator!).
Most reviewers liken Haratischvili to none other than the master of the epic, Leo Tolstoy. I must agree; in fact, I’d say her writing falls smack bang in the middle of the Venn diagram between Tolstoy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Elena Ferrante.
I couldn’t honestly call The Eighth Life an “easy” read in any sense, but it is a deeply worthwhile one. Your heart will swell, get torn to pieces, then stitched back together again; you’ll feel part of the Jashi family, with all the joy and devastation that entails.
If the chocolate-y elements are what draws you in, you might want to check out my round-up of the best books for chocolate lovers here.