War is raging in Georgia, Russian fighter planes are thundering overhead, and yet, for some, the falling bombs cause no more impact than the slight ripple moving through the purified water of their swimming pools, or the rattling of a spoon in their cappuccino cups. Filtered through the bleary and cynical mind of Shako—a journalist famed for his appearance in Georgian Pepsi ads—Adibas is a tragic satire describing the progressive falsification of his life, invaded by consumer goods, consumer sex, consumer carnage. A “war novel” without a single battle scene, Zaza Burchuladze’s English-language debut anatomizes the Western world’s ongoing “feast in the time of plague.”
The Complete Review: “Adibas” offers a slice of contemporary Georgian life
adibas is set in August 2008, as the South Ossetian crisis escalated into full-scale regional war between Russia and Georgia. Life in the Georgian capital Tbilsi goes on more or less as normal for the narrator and his acquaintances in adibas, but the shadow of the conflict looms very large, from armored vehicles taking up positions on the streets to overheard radio and television bulletins about the fighting that crop up throughout the text. The narrator, Shako, barely addresses the war directly, yet it’s always there in the background (even more obviously for Georgian readers, for whom the date 8/8/2008 still resonates very strongly).
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