Scribe UK staff are taking a reading day on 7th November, the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, to celebrate and immerse themselves in a 1000-page translated epic: The Eighth Life by Georgian novelist Nino Haratischvili.
Branded "a War and Peace for the 21st century" by one Waterstones bookseller, "so monumental" is the book that it required two translators to work intensively on the project for over a year – Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin.
The international bestseller, praised for its ability to connect its reader to history, tells the story of four generations of one Georgian family living through the tumultuous Soviet century. According to Scribe UK it has already shifted 300,000 copies in Germany, where it first published with Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt in 2014, and it was also a bestseller in Poland and the Netherlands.
It will be published in the UK on 14th November. Scribe holds world English language rights and is also publishing it in Commonwealth territories this autumn, followed by North America next spring.
Scribe UK m.d. Sarah Braybrooke said everyone in the Scribe team had "already read at least part of the book" with only a couple of people, including the books' editors and publicist, having finished it so far. "The whole team will be taking 7th November to curl up and enjoy finishing it," she said. There are six people in the Scribe UK team working across editorial, publicity, marketing and sales, all of whom will be participating in the reading day.
The book's editor Philip Gwyn Jones commented: "I really believe that a thousand-page Great Georgian Novel could be the one book that gets thousands of desperate British readers (and booksellers) through this hard winter intact, with their belief in the power of storytelling fully restored – all they have to do is let themselves fall into the pillowy embrace of this bewitching book of doomed romances and political upheavals. Revolution rarely feels as satisfying as this."
The book's author, Haratischvili, said it was "a great honour" to be able to share her novel with British readers. "Before publishing The Eighth Life in Germany, I would never have dared to dream that so many people from different countries would be passionate about my story and the history of my country. Thanks to the work of two fantastic translators, British readers now have a chance to read it too. I cannot wait to hear for reader reactions from the UK," she said.