|Images from Flickr via Melissa Maples|
(I should note that I write on far more topics than Kartveliana - my latest story sale, about which more presently, is science fiction in futuristically-classical Rome, and my latest journo piece is on immersive theatre and my Sleep No More obsession - but certainly, these seem to sell a bit better...)
- "I am at a jazz cafe called Near Opera. There is no jazz band. The opera house is shut. The furniture is ill-proportioned, dollhouse pink; there are imitation Beardsley paintings on the walls. It is lunchtime and I am the only one here. This is Tbilisi; this is normal. Georgians dine at vague hours, nowhere is ever open or closed. Business hours, like thresholds, are permeable." Another essay on change and my failed search for a "local" cafe in Tbilisi for EssaySaturday at Litro.
- "We had not died. We had made it deep into Khevsureti without tumbling off the pass or being shot by itinerant Chechens; the van had rolled precariously down the mountain until we thought to secure it with a stray log, and Misha, beleaguered but well-paid, had escorted us to the summit of a nearby cliff and pointed out the crypts with one of the three remaining fingers on his right hand." A fantastical take on hexes in the Caucasus in "The Snake Eaters" at Jersey Devil Press.
- The books are everywhere: cheap paperback copies of Hardy and Durrell, smelling of vanilla; midcentury spy thrillers; Jurgen Moltmann’s three-volume study in systematic theology. Kemal has piled them up in the doorframes. He has scavenged wood from a deconsecrated church and from it made lopsided shelves that line the equally slanted walls. The courtyard overflows with Hellenic detritus: roof shingles, broken shutters, sculpture-heads, sheared Roman stone. Only the sign out front—a dubious-looking owl advertising “Books Old and New”—indicates any sense of order. A look at the marvelous Owl Bookshop in Antalya over at Guernica.
- It had been raining for three days. The electricity had been out for two. The police had declared a curfew – three soldiers had washed up in pieces on the beach – and so Tatiana took tea at the lobby of the Grand Palais Eristave, where the foreigners huddled over the last of the Nescafé and the chandeliers shook with the bombs. A grifter adrift in a wartorn port city in the grandly fictional city-state of Eristavis, in "The Siege of Eristavis" at The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review.
- At the climax of Robert Sturua's production of Twelfth Night, a mainstay of the repertoire at Tbilisi's Rustaveli Theatre, a curious thing happens. After Viola and Orsino, Sebastian and Olivia, have all fallen into one another's arms, their newfound nuptial bliss is disturbed by the sudden appearance of a twenty-foot-tall crucified Jesus onstage behind them. Overcome by terror, our lovers run offstage, followed by Malvolio, Maria, and Feste – here represented as commedia-style clowns – as farce gives way to the solemn drama of the liturgy. A brief Georgian theatre round-up for The New Statesman.