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New Translated Fiction from UK’s Comma Press – The Book of Tbilisi

Book of Tbilisi, a new collection of ten short stories by ten of Georgia’s most exciting and decorated contemporary writers, has been translated into English for the first time by UK’s Comma Press.

“This is the latest in our critically acclaimed Reading the City series, which has a focus on underrepresented languages in UK translation, ” representative of the Comma Press, Becca Parkinson writes. 

Georgian short stories in translation will not be something the UK readership has come across often and these modern and reflective stories from this city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia do an excellent job of introducing readers to both the literary styles of contemporary Georgian writing, and the hopeful atmosphere of this flourishing, modern city.

With stories spanning the city’s recent history, telling the stories of children, families, neighbours, still coming to terms with Tbilisi’s troublesome past and hopeful future as an independent state; many of the stories put emphasis on family as the source of joy and happiness, whether it’s the orphaned siblings living and supporting each other in a train carriage, or the daughter trying to bring her father back to his old self with old family photos, there is a strong sense of community throughout. 

Part of popular Reading the City series

A rookie reporter, searching for his first big story, re-opens a murder case that once saw crowds of protestors surround Tbilisi’s central police station…

A piece of romantic graffiti chalked outside a new apartment block sends its residents into a social media frenzy, trying to identify the two lovers implicated by it….

A war-orphaned teenager looks after his dying sister in an abandoned railway carriage on the edge of town, hoping that someday soon the state will take care of them…

In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital, Tbilisi, have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d’état, two wars with Russia, the cancer of organised crime, and prolonged periods of brutalising, economic depression. Now, as the city begins to flourish again – drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit – it’s difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. With wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, these ten stories do just that.