This is, in brief, the story of a swindler, a Georgian Felix Krull, or perhaps a cynical Don Quixote, named Kvachi Kvachantiradze: womanizer, cheat, perpetrator of insurance fraud, bank-robber, associate of Rasputin, filmmaker, revolutionary, and pimp. Though originally denounced as pornographic, Kvachi's tale is one of the great classics of twentieth-century Georgian literature--and a hilarious romp to boot.
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Donald Rayfield is Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London. In addition to his definitive biography of Chekhov (reissued in Faber Finds), his books include "The Dream of Lhasa: The Life of Nikolay Przhevalsky (1839-88), Explorer of Central Asia "and "Stalin and His Hangmen". His 'superb new translation' (William Boyd - "Guardian") of Gogol's "Dead Souls" was published in 2008.Review:
Kvachi is... an international con-man, through whose eyes we see Europe and Russia as nothing but a rogue's hunting ground.... The abrupt, sardonic prose brims over with inventiveness.(Donald Rayfield The Literature of Georgia)
If you read one 500-page classic of Georgian literature this year, make it Mikheil's Javakhishvili's galloping 1924 epic Kvachi...(The Millions)
A long-buried classic of Eastern European literature in the picaresque mould of Cervantes and Fielding... Fast-paced dialogue, black humour, and camaraderie-among-thieves keeps the antics fun and ingenious. Recommended for fans of daring and rebellious literature.(Glasgow News)
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