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The Eighth Life

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  7,761 ratings  ·  1,156 reviews
An international phenomenon: the unputdownable story of seven women living through the greatest drama of the twentieth century.

1900, Georgia: in the deep south of the Russian Empire, Stasia, the daughter of a famous chocolatier, dreams of ballet in Paris, but marries a soldier, and finds herself caught up in the October Revolution. Escaping with her children, she finds sh
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Hardcover, 944 pages
Published November 14th 2019 by Scribe UK (first published August 18th 2014)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Joyce It is the format of the book and it will make sense at the end.
Patricia Ibarra Yes I read it in English already. Bought it on Amazon

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Average rating 4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,761 ratings  ·  1,156 reviews


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Adina (taking a break from literary fiction)
Now winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020


The Eighth Life was longlisted to the Booker International Prize 2020 but missed the shortlist. I would have preferred it to China Iron or The Discomfort of Evening but I think I understand why It did not convince the jury. Too readable maybe?

The long novel is the saga of a Georgian family ( the Eastern Europe one not the US state) starting in 1900 and up to the beginning of the 21st century. The story follows a few generations of dra
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Meike
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now Winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020
Longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020

Believe me: You need this Georgian historical novel in your life. Really. All 944 pages of it. Haratischwili's epic saga tells the story of one family living through the 20th century in (Eastern) Europe, being shaped by and shaping history, becoming victims and perpetrators and everything in between. Niza, the narrator, conveys the destiny of their ancestors to her niece Brilka: "It rea
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book has had my complete attention every spare minute of the last week, and I was absorbed from page 1 to page 944. A family saga that starts with the four daughters of a Georgian chocolatier, through wars and revolutions and generations. That's the country of Georgia, which I knew almost nothing about.

I always say I find my best reads on the long but not shortlists of awards and this is no exception (longlisted for the International Booker) - any other books I've picked up while reading th
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Hugh
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Longlisted for the Booker International Prize 2020

This is by far the longest book on the Booker International list, and for the most part I found it an enjoyable and absorbing read, though I can appreciate that it won't appeal to everyone.

It tells the story of a Georgian family from 1900 to the early part of the 21st century. Like her narrator Niza Jashi, Harataschvili was born in Georgia but now lives and works in Germany, and this book was written in German.

It starts with a brief prologue in
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Katia N
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: I am so happy that it is included in the long-list of International Booker 2020. It seems the book is doing a simple thing, but somehow it is managing to do it in a magical captivating way without resorting to any tricks. Maybe sincerity is underpriced asset in modern fiction.

”When i was about the same age as you, Brilka, I often used to wonder what would happen if the world’s collective memory had retained different things and lost others? If we had forgotten all the wars and all those
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Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Now winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Let the Celebrations begin. The jury felt the book’s Quality put it Streets ahead of the rest of the list.

A 900 page history of a chocolate dynasty. I had heard Wispas about it but it really came to prominence with its International Booker longlisting. It was a Kinder surprise to me the book was so good and it definitely p-p-p-picks up the more you read.

The large red book reminds me of a London Double Decker. Reading it is something of
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Matt
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want a lesson in endurance? Read this book — its almost 1300 pages (German paperback) demand quite a lot of your reading muscle but much more from the book’s characters.

Want to know more about Georgia (view spoiler)? Read this book — its time span (1900-2007) covers pretty much everything from modern (Georgian and European) history and projects it onto the Jaschi family.

Like epic (I mean really epic) family sagas? Read this
...more
Antonomasia
[4.5] A towering Bake Off showstopper of a historical family saga (laced with cursed chocolate to an irresistible secret recipe). Like the novels of Isabel Allende, this is a story of interesting women and hard times; enthralling, soapy and easy to read; such a perfectly constructed example of its type that you may forget the work that must have gone into it; and with just enough metaphorical flourish, metafictional awareness and subversion of formulae to appeal to many literary readers (albeit ...more
Elyse  Walters
“Wherever we had been in Russia. . .
the magical name of Georgia
came constantly.
People who had never been there, and who possibly never could go there, spoke of Georgia . . . as a kind of second heaven”.
—John Steinbeck

Does 1071 pages send you running the other direction? (which my copy stated)...
How about 944 pages? ( which some book copies state)...
Does that feel better?
Have momentary qualms about investing time reading this highly praised novel: “Winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in
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Roman Clodia
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This is an amiable crowd-pleaser of a novel: a 'sweeping' family saga through the twentieth century history of what purports to be Georgia but which is essentially Soviet Russia. I enjoyed reading it in a light way but am somewhat bemused at what it's doing on the International Booker list: it's entertaining, nicely written, fluently translated - but I wouldn't classify it as 'literary' in that it's not doing anything novel, isn't delivering any new historical or personal insights, doesn't press ...more
Eric Anderson
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There’s something so satisfying about getting immersed in a big family saga. At over 930 pages, “The Eighth Life” may look intimidating from the outside and I had a few false starts reading this novel but as soon as I got caught up in the many stories it contains I stopped noticing what page number I was on. The novel recounts the tales of multiple generations of a family in the country of Georgia over the 20th century following them through the Russian Revolution, Soviet rule and civil war. Eve ...more
Aga Durka
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
***I just discovered that this book is finally being translated to English (long overdue in my opinion!!) and I am besides excited!!! This is my ALL TIME favorite book in the Historical Fiction genre, and I can't recommend this book enough!! I read this book in Polish and I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for this book to be translated in English so that I can share it with my English speaking friends. Please read it and share your thoughts with me, I would love to see what all my Goodre ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This book was epic in every sense. It spanned generations of a Georgian family, the rise and fall of the USSR, unforgettable characters, tragic love affairs, and a magical chocolate recipe. At 934 pages, it was also epic in length, but I didn’t find any of those pages excessive or diversionary. This book was a big investment, but completely worth it.
Abbie | ab_reads
(#gifted @thebookerprizes) Okay so. Okay SO. OKAY SO. This book. I’m going to need you all to put aside any qualms you might have about its 930 pages and just DIVE RIGHT IN to this beautiful, multigenerational family saga, history of 20th century Georgia, with a cursed hot chocolate recipe to boot! I can honestly say that 930 pages is STILL NOT ENOUGH. 😭
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Following seven generations of the Jashi family, mostly women, The Eighth Life (for Brilka) is written, you guessed it, for Brilka, by her aunt
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Paul Fulcher
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Now winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020

Christine’s old television set was on in the next room, and I could hear a bad Mexican actress in a bad Mexican soap, underscored with bad, kitschy Mexican music, telling a bad Mexican actor that she would love him forever and wait for him forever on their favourite hacienda, but she had to marry José Gilberto, because she had no other choice.

This is clearly a book that has given many people a lot of pleasure, but it just wasn't for me
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Barbara
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
[Slight update] I don't tend to do this, but I wrote a longer review for Asymptote, and if you are interested you can find it here.

There are various things that make a book great and this one is particularly special. The ability that Haratischwili has to bring her characters to life is inspiring. I missed certain people as the focuses shifted from character to character and the history of both Georgia and the Soviet Union unfolded through the lives of one family (and its women in particular).

I
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Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
50 pages was all I needed to realize this was not for me: it reads like a textbook on 20th-century Georgian and Russian history with too many superficially-drawn characters interwoven—and awkwardly woven, to boot. Having checked quite a few mediocre reviews, all of them complaining about the lack of character development, I decided to jump early.
Neil
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
’You’re a thread, I’m a thread; together we make a little ornamentation, and together with lots of other threads we make a pattern. The threads are all different, differently thick or thin, dyed different colours. The patterns are hard to make out if you look at just one individual threads, but if you look at them together you start to see all sorts of amazing things…’

The Eighth Life is the story of six generations of a Georgian family through the 20th century. It all begins with a chocolate mak
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MisterHobgoblin
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Eighth Life (for Brilka) is a phenomenal novel – right up there with the best of the best. If it’s not my all-time favourite novel (and it might be) then it must be in the top three or four.

Set over more than a hundred years in Georgia, we follow six generations of the Jashi family. There is the patriarch, a chocolate maker who creates a mystical recipe for hot chocolate that tastes divine but curses those who drink it. Generation after generation, the Jashis partake of the chocolate.

The hu
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Jacoline Maes
More like 2,5 stars.

I wanted a lot more from this book than I got. This book is over 1200 pages and I still don't feel like I know the characters. There are so many who I think might be interesting, but every time I got to the point that I really started to enjoy reading about a character Haratischwili moved on to the next. The writing is nice and it reads fast, but because of the fact that I never felt I got closer to the characters it started to bore me after a while. So yes, this was a disapp
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Viv JM
I cannot put into words how much I loved this book. It has been a very long time since I have felt so totally immersed in a story and its characters (to the extent that I even dreamed about them). It is a wonderful story, beautifully written/translated and I highly, highly recommend it.
Tammy
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Follow the tale of Georgian Jashi family throughout the red century and into the 21st century. Written in eight books as a family history to a young niece, the narrative follows each generation as they live through the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin’s purge and its accompanying gulags and torture, brutal assault, the Siege of Leningrad and the Prague spring. This is an expansive family saga with a touch of magical realism in the form of a chocolate recipe handed down through generations bringing w ...more
Jonathan
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY!!!!

“I learned that ghosts are necessarily people. I learned that the sea doesn’t accept anything that hasn’t already been washed clean. I learned that love, however light and hopeful it might once have been, can end with unexpected sadness in a bleak hospital”
.
.
The Eighth Life is a novel of epic proportions by every definition of the word. A 940 page love letter to the country of Georgia, and also the last century of Russia and world history. A novel filled with ghosts, both of humans a
...more
Roman Clodia
This is an amiable crowd-pleaser of a novel: a 'sweeping' family saga through the twentieth century history of what purports to be Georgia but which is essentially Soviet Russia. I enjoyed reading it in a light way but am somewhat bemused at what it's doing on the International Booker list: it's entertaining, nicely written, fluently translated - but I wouldn't classify it as 'literary' in that it's not doing anything novel, isn't delivering any new historical or personal insights, doesn't press ...more
Shiva Asghari
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read so far this year.❤🥺 ...more
Kathi
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THIS WAS SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! I got a shitload of books for Christmas (I feel a bit overwhelmed tbh, but the best kind of overwhelmed, because let's face it - BOOKS) but I really was a bit Meh about this one. First of all, I've never heard of this book, which, given the amount of time I spend (waste) on this website, is pretty crucial! I mean, how good can a book be if none (literally none!) of my friends has read or even put it on their reading list? I KNOW. Second, this book is way too pretty to ...more
D
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A disappointment. I could not bring myself to empathize with the superficially described characters. Consequently, I did not finish the book, but the contents that I missed is easy to predict. In fact, the book can be considered as an elementary introduction to Georgian and Russian history interwoven with some convenient family history. It reminds me a bit of Middle England which is basically a book about Brexit packaged in a story. ...more
John Banks
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
4

What a monumental, epic read. Across just over 900 pages Haratischvili provides an enthralling Georgian family saga covering a blood soaked and traumatic century. The Eighth Life was originally published in German in 2014 and won the 2018 Bertolt Brecht prize. This is the wonderful English translation by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin.

The narrator, Niza, looks back through the lives of her relatives: great grandparents, grandparents, parents, sister and their entwined lives with husbands, wi
...more
Mellie
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
LOVE this book! This is now one of my favourites.
Nicole R
First and foremost, I absolutely loved this book. It will easily make my Top 10 of the year and will be a book I rave about for years to come.

Spanning over 100 years and covering the 20th century, Niza—from the vantage point of the 2000s—tells the story of her family, the Jashi family, and is centered in Georgia, largely the capital city Tbilisi. Beginning at a time of prosperity when Georgia was independent, the Jashi family made its living as bakers, creating the most delicious chocolate from
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Nino Haratischwili ist eine aus Georgien stammende Theaterregisseurin, Dramatikerin und Romanautorin.
Von 1998 bis 2003 leitete Nino Haratischwili die freie, zweisprachige deutsch-georgische Theatertruppe „Fliedertheater“, die mehrere Auftritte und Gastspiele in Georgien und Deutschland hatte. Von 2000 bis 2003 studierte sie Filmregie an der staatlichen Schule für Film und Theater in Tiflis. 2003 n
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“She had learned that words are not always promises, that music cannot save you, that your own abilities do not always lead to their predestined objective, that love is sometimes just camouflage for something much worse; she had learned to tame her dreams, had learned to paint over her disappointments with a dash of lipstick;” 6 likes
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