Author(s): Nino Haratischvili
‘That night Stasia took an oath, swearing to learn the recipe by heart and destroy the paper. And when she was lying in her bed again, recalling the taste with all her senses, she was sure that this secret recipe could heal wounds, avert catastrophes, and bring people happiness. But she was wrong.’
At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian Empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified: this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste …
Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the centre of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.
Tumbling down the years, and across vast expanses of longing and loss, generation after generation of this compelling family hears echoes and sees reflections. Great characters and greater relationships come and go and come again; the world shakes, and shakes some more, and the reader rejoices to have found at last one of those glorious old books in which you can live and learn, be lost and found, and make indelible new friends.
‘It is a great read. If you love historical sagas and romances, this is the book for you.’
—ABC Radio National The Bookshelf
‘A harrowing, heartening and utterly engrossing epic novel … astonishing … A subtle and compelling translation by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (on the heels of a Georgian version earlier this year) should make this as great a literary phenomenon in English as it has been in German.’
—Maya Jaggi, The Guardian
‘If it’s a family saga you’re seeking, look no further than this grand tale…The author gracefully interweaves the historical backdrop of her novel with the lives of her characters, thus adding depth to her story. Heartily recommended.’ STARRED REVIEW