Give Us Another Smile, Gwynplaine!
- Modern Georgian Prose
The novel has two protagonists: Beka Ishkhneli, 24, and Lazare Ishkhneli, 62. The former lives in Tbilisi, Georgia, the latter is an American. However, it can be said that these two are halves of one entity split in two. Lazare’s father, Otar Ishkhneli was one of the conspirators of the 1924 anti-Soviet rebellion. It was in that distant year that the Ishkhneli family split: the idealist stayed behind, while the rationally practical one emigrated. This seems to be the reason that Beka and Lazare fail to understand each other, both having their own, diagonally opposing viewpoints.
Having arrived to Georgia, Lazare finds himself in the country of paradoxes. It is the place where they start business without a comprehensive plan, where nurses allow themselves to teach surgeons because they believe they are more nationally-minded. It is the country where con men spent more money on entertaining those they are going to trick than what they get from their deception.
The novel opens with a gunshot – the artist shoots at his self-portrait, symbolically executing himself. The motive of self-destruction becomes one of the focal points of the narrative.
GIVE US ANOTHER SMILE, GWYNPLAINE was shortlisted in literary prize SABA for the best novel of the year 2015.