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The Eighth Life cover art

The Eighth Life

By: Nino Haratischvili
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
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Summary

At the start of the 20th 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 center 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. A ballet dancer never makes it to Paris and a singer pines for Vienna. Great characters and greater relationships come and go and come again; the world shakes, and shakes some more, and the listener 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.

©2019 Nino Haratischvili (P)2021 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about The Eighth Life

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Storytelling

A great read. The story of revolution, family, love, betrayal as experienced by a Georgian family throughout the 20th century and beyond. Larger than life characters and great storytelling kept me enthralled.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful story about generations in Georgia

The eighth life tells a beautiful and painful story about a family, told through the women of that family, living in Georgia as it becomes part of the Soviet Union, about all the trauma the people in that family carry with them and pass it on.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An engrossing listen

Despite the slightly grating narration ( pas de DeUX!? ) an all-encompassing family saga that is so varied in it's styles; harrowing , lyrical, opulent, abrasive. Loved this writer's very original voice.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous story, narrator rather annoying

Loved this complex, interesting and beautifully told story spanning a century of Georgian, Russian and European history.
The narrator unfortunately speaks so fast I had to put the speed to 0.9 to not get nervous listening. Also her attempts to voice act the different characters is not that great.
Despite that I highly recommend the book, as it’s moving, entertaining, very educational on a part of the world and history I realised I know little about. The many characters and interwoven story lines became my “friends” over the 40plus (!!) hours of listening.

A trigger warning is due, I feel, regarding the description of a number of intense violence and sexual abuse scenes. I personally had to fast forward a couple of those.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enthralling family saga with a really irritating narrator

Aside from a few trips to the lovely Georgian restaurant near where I live in south London I knew nothing whatsoever about Georgia so found this really interesting. I found the American accented narrator very irritating to the point that it did sometimes detract from the story…. Because pronouncing ’plaits’ as Plates or ‘shone’ as Shown was jarring because the words then didn’t make sense so I’d have to decipher what she was saying. Even more irritating was her ‘childhood’ voice which made me want to switch off. Presumably audible pays the narrators so why can’t they be bothered to check pronunciation before they start work?!
The story is good though with daft magic realist parts which for me weren’t convincing- such as the curse of the chocolate. Odd how everyone always woke up when it being made, I’m sure I’d sleep through someone making a hot drink but hey, maybe not if it’s a cursed one.
Ultimately I loved the early parts and grew less and less enamoured as it went on .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This is an amazing book, but not for everyone.

This book is quite a commitment in both length and graphic content so won't be for everyone, but if you feel able to commit then it will give you a really good story whilst also teaching you something of the history of the USSR. In particular through the eyes of thè female line of a fictitious Georgian family.

However it really does not shy away from the brutality of life behind the iron curtain and tells a tragic tale in many particularly given the geopolitical situation we find ourselves in at the moment.

Please proceed with exstreame caution if you are struggling with your mental health. I don't know whether I would have started the journey had I been fully armed with the facts before doing so but I was too gripped to stop once I had started. A masterpiece.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great big rollicking read

There is a point when purchasing a book when you consider its length. Can I really commit to something this long, but soon you are wrapped up in a tumble of stories, history and heartbreak. Ending the book is quite emotional as you have to leave this remarkable family behind. A set of beautifully drawn and realised characters who have been with you through a turbulent century. Wonderful.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A beautiful intricately woven carpet

The most beautiful intricately woven carpet I have ever read. The words drew me into the worlds of every character as they unfolded.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A pity that local names/places are mispronounced

Although I can appreciate that it is not easy to work with a lengthy story like this one, I wonder how difficult it would have been to check and pronounce correctly georgian names, surnames, and places. it really got on my nerves and decreased the quality of listening. somehow felt wrong like this was not important to anyone...

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

B

Bit dramatic but somehow still boring and very long. Doesn’t feel very realistic and I’m not buying the “my dear Brillka” cliffhanger that’s been looming for 5 hours now.

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