Untergang or Journey through Europe
- Modern Georgian Prose
This short novel was inspired by the fusion of two great books: Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. The central character, a Non-Superman named Zerotusthra, a.k.a – Zero, is traveling through several European capitals: Brussels, Rome, Paris, London, Stockholm and Berlin. His journey is sort of propelled by a White Rabbit, with a long black beard, acting like a jihadist and exploding his pocket watch as a time bomb. These explosions makes the story unfold from city to city.
This is a surrealistic-sentimental journey of an aging man through his memories and through European culture. He is driven by some “objects of desire,” both “clear” and “obscure”. But the novel goes beyond his individual memories and sentiments and touches upon broader issues. Europe is passing through critical times too: migration, isolationism, populism, bureaucracy… European culture has lost the links with the vibrant, carnivalesque culture of its Medieval and Renaissance childhood. Is there a place for Georgia in contemporary Europe; is Georgian culture close to the European as such; is Georgia’s current drive towards Europe a realistic venture or the nation is just allured by yet another obscure object of desire?
The novel features several European artists, writers, politicians and celebrities commenting upon Georgia’s European Ways. Self-irony, parody and hallucinations mix up in the narrative, sided by some Eckhartian and Sufi mysticism.
Towards the end of the novel, Zerotusthra performs a Black Mess in a Berlin restaurant Zum Schwarzen Ferkel, sacrificing his desires to the Great Nothing.