Hamid Ismailov

Doomed Empire of Love

Avelum

By

Garnett Press 349pp £15 order from our bookshop

Avelum was the fifth novel by Otar Chiladze, who died in 2009. It was first published in Georgian in 1995, and now appears in an English translation by Donald Rayfield, a connoisseur of Russian and Georgian literature. Set in the period between two anti-Soviet demonstrations in Tbilisi – the first in March 1956 and the second in April 1989 – it tells the story of Avelum, a Georgian writer living in the USSR. His name, Chiladze explains, means ‘free citizen with full civic rights’. It is a bitter work, full of frustration, sadness and scepticism. 

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