Nino Haratischwili was born in Tiflis, Georgia in 1983. She is an award-winning novelist, playwright and theatre director and has been writing in Georgian and German since the age of twelve. Her debut novel Juja was longlisted for the German Book Prize. Mein sanfter Zwilling (My Gentle Twin) won the Hotlist German independent publishers’ best book award in 2011. Haratischwili lives in Hamburg and was the writer-in-residence at the British Centre of Literary Translation’s summer school in July 2012.
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Mein sanfter Zwilling (My Gentle Twin)
The story of two people who cannot possibly love each other. A great love and a fatal passion between two individuals who can only define themselves through one another and yet have to keep going their separate ways.
Ivo and Stella grow up as close as twins although they are not related by blood. Every attempt to live without each other, to escape from the vicious circle of wild erotic encounters and hateful fights, fails miserably. It’s a nameless greed that keeps driving them back to each other and a deeply hidden anger that prevents them from ever being happy together.
Haratischwili’s novel tells the story of this great love and fatal passion, revealing along the way step by step and layer by layer the family drama that chains Stella and Ivo together. In flashbacks, Stella tells the story of her family from the moment when Ivo entered her life. Her father’s affair with Ivo’s mother. The afternoons in the remote house by the harbour where the couple meet up and the children play, watching the adults in love. Through their parents, Ivo and Stella grow closer and try to keep their secret as best they can from the rest of the world. The affair ends at one blow when Ivo’s father comes home unexpectedly from a business trip.
In powerful and melancholy language and with great gravity and eye for detail, Mein sanfter Zwilling reveals the imperfections and intricacies of human nature in the story of a shocking family drama, a lost childhood and a great love for which there is no place.
First recommended by Charlotte Ryland