In Georgia’s run-down post-Soviet capital, Tbilisi, Aleko discovers his mother, Lena, has breast cancer, something she has hidden from him for fifteen years, although everyone else seems to know.
On his small income as a bookman, a semi-legal bookseller, the family struggle to care for Aleko’s mother, his disabled sister and his family. When his mother dies the coffin – as tradition requires – occupies the centre of the apartment for grieving family and friends to gather round.
But not everyone is convinced that the coffin contains Lena’s mortal remains. And an Inspector is going round making enquiries…
About the author
- Aleko Shugladze was born in Tbilisi in 1965. He is a film director, performance artist, director and scriptwriter. He started writing in 1989 and won his first literary prize for the story ‘Answers for a Magazine with a Small Print Run’. After a 15-year absence from the literary scene, he came back with his autobiographical novel All That We Hide, a bestseller and winner of the SABA award for best Georgian novel of 2016.
About the translators
Natalia Bukia-Peters is a freelance translator, interpreter and teacher of Georgian and Russian. She is a translator for the Poetry Translation Centre in London and a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. She translated – with Victoria Field – A House with No Doors – Ten Georgian Women Poets and The Dictatorship of Poetry by Zurab Rtveliashvili for Francis Boutle Publishers.
- Charlotte Hobson’s first book, Black Earth City, won a Somerset Maugham Award, and her recent novel, The Vanishing Futurist, was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. Her translations of Chekhov have been used by the Oxford Stage Company and Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago. She lives in Cornwall with her husband, the writer Philip Marsden, and their two children.