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The Eighth Life Readalong

We’re doing The Eighth Life Readalong pt.2 – lockdown edition. With an incredible cast of characters, a sweeping narrative timeline and a truly gripping plot, The Eighth Life is the perfect isolation read. At 934 pages, we also know it’s one of those books that people put off because they don’t have the time – until now! Starting on Monday 20 April and ending on Friday 8 May, (that’s around 50 pages a day), we’ll be posting questions to guide reading, trivia from the book and offer readers the chance to ask the author and translators some questions. We'll be posting the questions here and on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #TheEighthLifeReadalong. Let’s do this!

MONDAY 20 APRIL, PAGES 1-50 

  • How is Georgia portrayed so far? How does the narrator feel about her home country? 
  • What's your first impression of Simon? Are you as swept away as Stasia is? 
  • This is the first time we hear about a very important hot chocolate. Do you think its magical properties are real? 

TUESDAY 21 APRIL, PAGES 50-100 

  • In Petrograd Stasia meets the unforgettable Thekla. Were you surpised by Thekla's drastic actions? 
  • Do you have sympathy for what Simon experiences during the war? Or do you think he is the architect of his own misfortune?
  • What do you think of Christine and Ramas' relationship? Is Christine right to value luxury over love?

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL, PAGES 100-150 

  • What do you think about Stasia's relationship with Sopio? 
  • The removal of Christine's mask sets off a chain of grave consequences, was there any other way out of the situation?
  • What Ramas does to Christine is deeply upsetting. How do you feel about his actions? 

THURSDAY 23 APRIL, PAGES 150-200

  • In these pages we first meet Giorgi Alania. What is your first impression of him?
  • Kostya experiences his first love with Ida. What do you think about the way he handles this relationship?
  • Stasia once again sets off from Georgia to Russia. Do you think she was right to travel to Moscow to find Kostya?

FRIDAY 24 APRIL, PAGES 200-250 

SATURDAY 25 APRIL, PAGES 250-300

  • Kostya and Mariam seem to be two very different people. What do you think drew them to each other?
  • Andro returns to Tbilisi a changed man and his relationship with Kitty continues to break down. Do you think Kitty should have told him the truth about what happened to her? 
  • Kitty encourages Mariam to seek out Alla instead of telling her everything she knows. Why do you think she does this? 

SUNDAY 26 APRIL, PAGES 300-350

  • Trivia: In 2017 The Eighth Life was adapted into a play that premiered at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Germany. The play was five hours long. 

MONDAY 27 APRIL, PAGES 350-400

  • Christine confronts the Litte Big Man for the first time since her disfigurement. What do you think about her method of revenge?
  • Kitty and Fred continue to become closer until Fred leaves for America. Were you relieved or disappointed to see her leave?
  • Why do you think Kostya refuses to share his past with Nana? Do you think he will ever open up to her? 

TUESDAY 28 APRIL, PAGES 400-450

  • Elene becomes an angry, unhappy child over the course of these pages. Where do you think these feeligns came from?
  • Do you think anyone is to blame for what happens between Elene and Miqa?
  • Amy discovers Kitty's relationship with Fred. Do you think she will ever forgive Kitty? 

WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL, PAGES 450-500

  • Live event announcement – click here for details 

THURSDAY 30 APRIL, PAGES 500-550 

  • Elene strikes up a surprising friendship with Miqail, what do you think she is looking for from this relationaship? 
  • When Christine brings Miqa home, an uncomfortable sequence of events ends with an altercation between Kostya and Miqa. Discuss the events leading up to this fight. 
  • Lana persuades Miqa to tell the story of Sopio Eristavi. Why do you think he agrees? Was he purely influenced by Lana or do you think this is something he wants? 

FRIDAY 1 MAY, PAGES 550-600

  • Miqa refuses to give the film over to the militsiya in an attempt to stand up to Kostya. Were you surprised by the events that unfolded because of this decision? 
  • Afters years of waiting Kitty finally meets the voice behind the telephone. What do you think of their reunion? 
  • We get to know more about Giorgi in these pages. What do you think about his relationship with women? 

SATURDAY 2 MAY, PAGES 600-650 

SUNDAY 3 MAY, PAGES 650-700

  • Kostya openly and cruelly prefers Daria over Niza, why do you think this is? Why does he treat Niza so poorly?

  • Why does Rusa fall so deeply for Kostya? Do you think Rusa’s suffering will act as a turning point for Kostya? 

  • How do you think Kitty feels about Giorgi? 

MONDAY 4 MAY, PAGES 700-750

  • In a rare moment on intimacy, Niza opens up to Kostya. He then proceeds to use this information against her. Were you surprised he did this?
  • Niza hatches a brilliant plan that allows Daria to act in the film. Do you think her acting career is a good idea? 

  • After everything she’s lived through, Kitty passes away in these pages. How do you feel about her death?

TUESDAY 5 MAY, PAGES 750-800

  • Miro and Niza begin their romantic relationship with a tender moment at the go-kart track. Do you have hope for their relationship?
  • Violent scenes break out at the demonstration and Christine becomes enmeshed. Discuss the scene between Niza and Christine at the school. How do you feel about what ultimately happens to Christine?

  • Lasha turns violent, so Niza asks The Shark to confront him. What do you think about this? How could Niza have handled the situation better? 

WEDNESDAY 6 MAY, PAGES 800-850 

  • So much suffering results from Niza's snap decision to go to Abkhazia. What do you think about her actions?
  • This section sees Georgia enter into Civil War. Discuss the evolution of Georgian life from the beginning of the book until now. 
  • Daria and Miro betray Niza. What do you think their reasons are for doing this? Is one more forgiveable than another?

THURSDAY 7 MAY, PAGES 850-900

  • Many of the great characters of the book pass away in these pages. Do you think differently about them now then when you originally met them? Did you change your mind about anyone? Did anyone dissappoint you?
  • Why do you think Miro abandons Niza on the train?
  • We're brought back to the scene that initially started the story, and we finally get to meet Brilka. What do you think of her? 

FRIDAY 8 MAY, PAGES 900-934

  • The book is filled with repeating patterns and mirror images. Discuss the cyclical nature of The Eighth Life. 
  • Brilka doesn't taste the hot chocolate. Do you think this will break the family curse? Do you have hope for Brilka?
  • Having completed The Eighth Life, what did you think of the novel? Did it challenge you/ surprise you/ disappoint you? How do you feel about finishing it? 

The Eighth Life

LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

The international sensation that UK booksellers are calling this generation’s War and Peace.

At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian Empire, a family prospers, thanks to a magical recipe for hot chocolate that bewitches its drinkers. But this chocolate carries a bitter — some say cursed — aftertaste … Tumbling through the years, across vast expanses of longing and loss, we witness generation after generation of this remarkable family as they struggle and thrive, divide and reunite, and live and die in the red century.

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The Eighth Life

Nino Haratischvili

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The Eighth Life

Nino Haratischvili

Cover view