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Nana Ekvtimishvili

The Pear Field - Novel

Original title: მსხლების მინდორი, published in May 2015 by Bakur Sulakauri, Tblisi
(German title: Das Birnenfeld)
ca. 221 pages
Paperback
2018
Nana Ekvtimishvili
Foto: Nana Ekvtimishvili
© Mathias Bothor

Nana Ekvtimishvili, born in 1978 in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a writer and movie director, and owns Georgia’s first chain of ice cream parlors. She studied screenwriting and dramaturgy in Potsdam-Babelsberg. She first published stories in 1999 and in 2011 directed her first short film, Waiting for Mum. In 2013 together with her partner Simon Groß she released the feature film In Bloom. In Bloom premiered at the 63rd Berlinale where it was hailed as the birth of the new Georgian wave and won the award the CICAE Award, followed by numerous awards film at festivals in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, LA, and Sarajevo, and was Georgia’s entry for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2013 Nana Ekvtimishvili — again with Simon Gross — was chosen as one of the ten most promising European directors from Varietyʼs Ten Directors to Watch at the 48 th Karlovy Vary Film Festival. In Hong Kong, the film was named as the spring of Georgian cinema. The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) has called the film a sign of the rebirth of Georgian film. Her latest film My Happy Family has first been released at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. The Pear Field is her first novel.

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English world rights (Peirene), Spanish world rights (Vegueta Ediciones), Netherlands (Prometheus), Azerbaijan (TEAS Press)

An intense portrait of young people without future who stand up against the world of adults.

About

The Pear Field takes place in the 1990s in Tbilisi, capital of the recently independent country of Georgia. At the heart of the novel is the “School for Idiots”, a boarding school for “mentally deficient children”, actually visitied mostly by children whose parents are either dead or who have emigrated for economic reasons. Even the teachers leave the children and teens to their own devices.

The narrative unfolds from the point of view of 16-year-old Lela who has decided that she will murder Wano, the history teacher. Only over the course of the novel do the reasons become clear: sexual assault and even rape. However, Lela, a combative, angry young girl, has taken up the role of protector. She looks after the younger children, comforts them, and even tries to convince them to apply themselves, in other words, to study so that they can leave the School for Idiots behind. As strong as her hatred for the history teacher is, she has developed a tender, sister-like relationship with the boy Irakli. Every week Lela takes him to a nearby high-rise flat so he can talk on the phone with his mother in Greece. Irakli, however, refuses to believe what Lela has long known: his mother is never coming back, not even to pick him up. Lela nonetheless tries to encourage him and even manages to get him to learn English because she wants Irakli to have a better future. And then, one day, a married couple from the southern United States arrives and his dream threatens to become reality in a most bizarre way.

Praise

»With a striking and unsentimental story ... film director Nana Ekvtimishvili casts a glance on to those who live at the margins of Georgian life.« Frankfurter Rundschau

»The ... novel vibrates with the lives of those who have been left out, the silenced.« Ines Radisch, DIE ZEIT

»Delicate, heartrending, and completely unsentimental but with poetic power, she tells the stories of children at the edge of the city, at the edge of society.« Bayerischer Rundfunk

»Ekvtimishvili gives the suspended a voice: her novel allows one to sense just how long a way it is to a better life.« Börsenblatt

»Nana Ekvtimishvili has written a merciless book that gives voice to those left behind while crying out against apathy and brutality.« WDR 5

»In her novel The Pear Field Nana Ekvtimishvili seeks the great in the small.« taz. die tageszeitung

»The Pear Field is more than just a cleverly constructed novel. This book is the shrewd portrait of an entire society that has lost its humanity on its way into a new era. A stirring debut.« NDR

»This stylistically brilliant book explores abuse, neglect, prostitution, abandonment. ... Nana Ekvtimischwili evokes the sad and dark side of Soviet and post-Soviet society.« Literaturblatt für Baden-Württemberg

»Ektimishvili’s language reveals that horror we associate with closed institutions. She tells of physical violence and spiritual poverty. She describes a normality of abnormality.« der Freitag

»Ekvtimishvili has successfully told the bitter story of an invincible lust for life.« CulturMag