by Nino Gugunishvili
You Will Have a Black Labrador is a collection of ten short stories, almost essays, that are semi-autobiographical and cover a range of topics; some everyday observations and others are a little more emotive.
This is an amusing collection that hints at deeper levels underneath the humorous asides and breezy tempo. There is an immediate, conversational feel to Ms Gugunishvili’s writing, I felt as though I were actively gossiping with her over a cup of tea rather than reading. Her shorts are, in the most, quick, clever and unashamedly undiluted and, consequently, I found them refreshing yet undeniably laced with poignancy.
The opener, In Search of Peter, was entertaining and I mentally twinned it with Make Me an Omelette, both slightly similar subjects expressed with a level of raw, comedic honesty. Personally, I thought A Long Story of a Short Hair, A Family Album and A Letter to my Unborn Children were the strongest. The stream of consciousness narrative is present together with the open humour and yet each of these three told a different underlying story. There was a bittersweet, self-effacing quality and a touch of pathos which I found very interesting and for those reasons, I would have liked to have read more especially about her Georgian roots and ancestry. All of the pieces follow the same form and style and it would have been nice just to have injected a little difference in the tone to one or two.
However, overall, an enjoyable and engaging little selection of musings that ably demonstrates Ms Gugunishvili’s naturally warm and witty style of writing. Highly recommended.