Nana Ekvtimishvili’s International Booker longlist (so deservingly) title The pear field is set in an orphanage post Soviet era on the outskirts of Tbilisi , called The school of intellectually Disabled or as locals call it the School of idiots which is understaffed and the orphanage is falling down. The children in it have very terrible life choices.
The story is led by really I think one of the most extraordinary heroines ever Lela, who is 18, which means she could have left the school but she doesn’t and stays and works there.
The children in the orphanage are accustomed to violence, sexual assault, poverty from childhood and which shapes them further.
Despite such darkness, there is so much heart in the novel, these children are loyal and very close to each other.
Personally I thought the writing was very cinematic, as Ekvtimishvili is also a filmmaker. But what’s extraordinary in this book is that the evocation of emotions is done is an unsentimental way yet it’s so moving.
Centrally at the heart of it is a most beautiful relationship between Lela and Irakli (young 9 yr. old boy) and the bond between these two is so realistic and moving, that you really wanna know what happens to them all the way through it.
What I loved in the book is how realistic it is, it’s ruthless because what this book does is not betraying reality, this world is ruthless but it makes for a deep, visceral and unforgettable read.
The pear field – Nana Ekvtimishvili translated by Elizabeth Heighway. Thank you so much Peirene press for e-copy of this remarkable book.