Reading 20 October 2018


13:30 Location: Zofingen Kunsthaus, General-Guisan-Strasse 12, 4800 Zofingen, Switzerland Organizer: Georgian National Book Center, Literaturtage Zofingen Speakers: Lasha Bugadze, Davit Gabunia
Moderator: Britta Spichiger
Translation: Sybilla Heinze

‘There is no sex in the Soviet Union’ became a popular slogan in the USSR after a young woman said it during the US-USSR TV bridge show. Sex was a ‘closed’ issue, deeply tabooed at the time, and this inertia continued well into the post-Soviet period. The protagonist of the novel Lucrecia515 is Sandro. He is 37, married and something of a Don Juan. He keeps a conscientious record of his sexual adventures, ranking women according to their looks, peculiarities, nationality and the impression they make on him. He also has an unconventional strategy for making new conquests, repeatedly managing to sneak away from his wife into the company of a wide range of women. But things stop running smoothly when someone hacks into his email and social media accounts. He is a type of a modernized Georgian, a married Don Juan, putting a lot of effort and enthusiasm into making up for the ‘sexless period’. Very similar to Leporello and Don Giovanni, Sandro also keeps a list of women complete with their socio-psychological indications, such as ‘has marriage in mind’, ‘fatally stubborn’, ‘living in the past’, ‘beyond reach for various reasons’, ‘easy to get’, etc. Sandro has a quarter-share in a factory making sauce. He is married, has one child and can play Chopin’s Etude No.3, which he does when he senses that his looks and social status have failed to impress the ‘object of his interest’ (as he sometimes calls the women he courts). His looks, though, are not those of a classic Don Juan: Sandro is more of a ‘civilized Georgian’; he’s not slim, but makes himself look slim if he needs to (for instance, when his photo is taken, he inhales deeply and presses his belly back).

Falling Aparat
tells an intimate story of a young Georgian family; the husband, Zura is unemployed, taking care of 2 children, the wife, Tina having a routine job, their life seems to be ordinary from outside. The Summer of 2012 turns out to be crucial – Zura becomes obsessed with a new neighbour’s (a 21-year-old gay man) private life, observing and taking pictures of his secret sexual encounters with an older politician; while Tina plunges into a passionate affair with her younger colleague. Both storylines reach the climax when Zura becomes a witness of a murder (the politician kills the gay guy) and Tina is abandoned by her lover. There are several narrators in the novel and the shifts of the perspectives, different voices present the isolated worlds of the characters, from their own viewpoints they fail to notice the growing danger which threatens to ruin their lives. 
Falling Apart was published in 2017 and quickly gained the national best-seller status in Georgia. Rowohlt Verlag will publish the German translation in 2018.