Waiting for the Electricity

Christina Nichol. Overlook, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4683-0686-6
This inventive debut from Nichol, who has taught English in the Republic of Georgia, where the book is set, provides a satirical but good-natured look at the clash between American and Georgian attitudes. Slims Achmed Makashvili, a self-effacing attorney working in the Georgian Maritime Ministry of Law, lives in Batumi, a small town on the Black Sea. Bemoaning the deplorable condition of post-Soviet Georgia, where corruption is rife and electricity scarce, Slims enters a business-proposal-writing contest sponsored by Hillary Clinton to teach citizens of former U.S.S.R. satellite states about free-market capitalism. He submits his application with help from his sister, Juliet, who teaches English at a local university, and is surprised to be informed afterward by the American embassy that he has won entry to a six-week internship in San Francisco, which involves attending an economic conference. While staying with his American host, small business owner Merrick, Slims is impressed by the law and order he observes, as well as by the abundance of electricity. He comes up with a dubious business plan for importing Georgian sheep to the U.S. before embarking on a madcap road trip that brings his stay to an ignominious end. Tongue-in-cheek humor and Slims’s deadpan narration of his improbable tale add considerable appeal to this promising first novel. Agent: Irene Skolnick, Skolnick Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/10/2014
Release date: 06/26/2014
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4683-1044-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4683-1096-2
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