- Modern Georgian Prose
Irakli Samsonadze’s novel covers the last decade of the 20th century, the time when bureaucracy and profiteering boomed in poverty-stricken Georgia.
THE CUSHION narrates about the people and the country buried under the empire ruins. The novel describes a whole range of human emotions, recalls numerous significant events of the recent past, all told following the flow of life.
The novel’s hero, a writer, has a wife, Ketino, and a boy. He also has a friend called Vakho, a drug addict with whom he intends to set up a business, which is to keep himself and his family going. Things are bad in the land: destitution, no electricity, recent war, aggressors and refugees.
Meanwhile, Vakho proposes a lucrative idea: they should sell a kidney each. The writer becomes obsessed with the idea. They contact the crippled Nana who is in the business. Nana explains to them if they agree, their kidneys will be sent to Moscow laboratory and they will be paid 5.000 dollars each. But the deal turns out to be impossible and they keep their kidneys. Vakho’s next idea is linked to the pre-election period: he suggests the writer should join a party. The party is interested in the writer as a personality. Here too, the writer fails to feel at ease. The project fails. The writer periodically tries to summon up the strength to write a story about a cushion which his mother gave his son as a gift.
Original in its form, the one-paragraph novel renders the reality of the post-Soviet Georgia in a truthful and objective way, without undue embellishments. It is regarded as one of the most authentic and reliable piece of fiction written about the 1990s.