The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, Translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin

Wow what a book, at 934 pages it felt like such an achievement to even finish this book and when I read the final sentences I fell a mixture of pride and devastation that my time with the family was over.

The Eighth life is one of those life changing books that you’ll never forget, it was packed full of wisdom, history, drama, love, friendship, hardship, grief, illness and everything else that a family experiences over a lifetime.

The story spans over a century and begins in the early 1900s, when Stasia meets her husband and her father gifts her a precious gift – his hot chocolate recipe, but there’s great responsibility attached to this recipe as the effects this hot chocolate has on people can be quite sinister.

The story changes from Stasia’s own, to her children’s lives and so on, giving a multi generational plot that continuously weaves with all the preceding characters making you feel connected to all of them throughout and definitely part of the family.

As the years pass, we witness World War I and II, many civil wars and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union from the perspective of this Georgian family. With colourful and strong personalities, not all the family agree on which side to be on, giving the reader an even wider view on the events. With all these historical events, Haratischvili gives the reader many facts alongside the family’s tale, which I really liked – I felt I got a really good grasp on the history of Georgia, something I definitely didn’t have before the story!

Haratischvili’s writing style is spell-bindingly immersive, the days that I read this book combined and I felt I was living and breathing this story,

This story takes you on a journey, and it was one that I’ll never forget. The way this story evolves is done in such a skilfully, intelligent and breathtaking way.

Books this size are daunting and can feel like too much of a commitment, but what they reward you with is something truly special.

The Eighth Life was translated into English by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin, without these two lovely women, I would have never been able to appreciate this wonderful book. The Eighth Life has such a natural flow to it, I completely forgot that it was even translated!

The Eighth Life is hardback, paperback and eBook versions from Scribe UK.

Until next time, Chloé x

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