Turashvili’s Top 5 Must-Reads of Georgian Literature
One may find it surprising that a small country like Georgia is the birthplace of many exceptionally talented writers; ranging from hagiographers and novelists to poets and fictionists, the designated names of the local literature deliver it all. Getting to know our world of liberal arts is definitely a difficult task. So, to help you find your way through the windfall of books, we asked world-famous Georgian writer, Dato Turashvili, to give us his picks for the top 5 must-reads that every person should go for.
1. Jacob the Priest – Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik. “Written in the 5th century, this is the first Georgian novel. Just like us, any other nation or country would be extremely proud to have a piece of literature that dates back to the 5th century. The literary history alone is reason enough to make this novel interesting for foreigners. If read, one will easily discover its great artistic (and non-artistic) value.”
2. Shota Rustaveli – The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. “The cynosure of Georgian literature – The Knight in the Panther’s Skin is a 12th century poem which is a unique synthesis of western and eastern poetic-philosophical cultures and serves as the kernel of European and Georgian renaissance, not only in terms of literature and art.”
3. Vazha-Pshavela – Host & Guest and Aluda Ketelauri. “One just has to read Vazha-Pshavela’s collection of poems, which includes his two works – Host & Guest and Aluda Ketelauri. Why? Because in 19th century Georgian literature, Vazha-Pshavela managed to establish the values on which modern democratic countries now stand, whose biggest achievement is protecting the rights of those who are radically different from the majority.”
4. Konstantine Gamsakhurdia – Kidnapping the Moon. “Kidnapping the Moon is the novel which depicts and explains the violent processes present in early 20th century Georgia. This, unfortunately, drastically changed our country’s natural and harmonious development and resulted in the Soviet-Russian regime, which was tragic for us.”
5. Guram Dochanashvili – The First Garment. “The First Garment is the 20th century Georgian novel which is the literary confirmation that, despite everything, Georgians always remain true to the main universal values – kindness, love and freedom.”
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t waste a second and be sure to check out all of the abovementioned works of literature. And while you’re at it, I would advise you to also read our respondent’s brilliant novel – The Flight from the USSR, which has already been translated into numerous languages, including English.