The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili is set in the country of Georgia, the former Soviet republic. I don’t know very much about Georgia so reading this book was like seeing a little glimpse of Georgian life. There were historical figures and events that match up with actual events. Of course, this book is fictional so not everything is true. There could be cursed chocolate being made by one family or there could be no curse. No one will ever really know.
The story is told from the point of view of Niza, who is telling the story to her niece, Brilka. Each section tells the story of what happened to each relative. At first, I thought I might need a chart but shortly after beginning to read , all of the characters and their relationships made sense. However, there is no shame in making a family tree if you need a visual tool.
It would be difficult to choose a favorite character because they are all fascinating. If I had to guess which character that I am most like, it would be Stasia. Her father, a successful chocolatier, entrusts her with the secret chocolate recipe. There is a secret ingredient that makes the chocolate dangerous, some would say cursed. The father sells the chocolate to his customers but does not include the secret ingredient. On special occasions, Stasia makes the secret chocolate and discovers that it is a powerful tool or weapon.
So Niza, who is the great-granddaughter of Stasia, has been tasked with retrieving her niece, Brilka, and sending her home to Georgia. Niza feels compelled to share the family history with Brilka. There are so many secrets and things that Brilka has never been told. There are 8 books, which are the 8 lives that are important in this family history. I listed the books just in case you were curious.
Book I: Stasia
Book II: Christine
Book III: Kostya
Book IV: Kitty
Book V: Elene
Book VI: Daria
Book VII: Niza
Book VIII: Brilka
It took me a few days to get through the book but it was worth the effort. Remember when there used to be a really great mini-series on television that you didn’t want to miss – like Roots, North and South, Lace, any Danielle Steel series. I know, some of those shows haven’t held up but in the 80s that is all we had. There wasn’t anything streaming. No Netflix. Anyway . . . . The Eighth Life could be as great as any movie or show that has ever been on anything. There is so much drama that I stayed up way past my bedtime on several occasions. It is an epic story – literally. Epic is defined as: a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation. EPIC!!!!!
If you are into stories about family, history, chocolate and all of the drama that is included with all of those topics, then The Eighth Life should be the next book to affect your life.
According to Wikipedia, Kartvelophobia “refers to the dislike, hatred, or persecution of Georgians, the country of Georgia, or Georgian culture.” If you have Kartvelophobia, then I feel sorry that you will miss out on this book and also a whole set of people.
- I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for doing a review. All opinions are my own. Obviously.
- Amazon affiliate link included in this post.