Join our hero, Slims Achmed Makashvili, a humble maritime lawyer, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime …
Will you fall in love with the zany, post-Soviet Republic of Georgia?
In the republic of Georgia, the Communists are long gone, replaced by . . . well, by what? Something much more confusing, that’s for sure.
There are no jobs in the cities. And when there are jobs, employees aren’t compensated. And when they are compensated, it’s because the jobs are . . . not strictly scrupulous. In the village, life goes on much as it always did, but these days, the homemade farmers cheese is giving way to the oil pipeline.
And as for romance in this strange, confounding modern age . . . the less said, the better.
And why is Hilary Clinton so interested in our hero, Slims Makashvili?
But there’s one man in Georgia who remains unseduced by corruption, unfazed by nostalgia, and unable to abandon chivalry, no matter how antiquated a notion it may be. This man is Slims Achmed Makashvili, a humble maritime lawyer and the hero of this brilliant novel.
When Slims discovers an application for an American small business internship program sponsored by Hillary Clinton, he knows that he has found his calling. In his letters to Senator Clinton, Slims dreams of bringing efficiency, opportunity, and the American dream to his homeland, even as his friends and relatives embrace decadence, lethargy, and a staggering array of unsavory business practices.
And what would America have to teach you once you finally got here?
But when he finally gets to America—specifically to utopian San Francisco—Slims sees what reform and progress look like up close. And suddenly, his loud, bickering family and his anguished, joyful country no longer seem so grim.
A gleeful picaresque, a hilarious satire, and a work of extraordinary empathy and imagination, Waiting for the Electricity is a marvelously imaginative debut novel in the tradition of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated and Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan.
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award is given annually to women writers of exceptional talent, with an emphasis on those at early stages of their careers.
Critics describe Waiting for the Electricity as a “wise, funny, and moving novel” that is “wildly original” and a “welcome antidote to the provincialism of so much recent American fiction.”
A gleeful picaresque, a hilarious satire, and a work of extraordinary empathy and imagination, Waiting for the Electricity is a marvelously imaginative debut novel.
About Christina Nichol
Christina Nichol won the 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. She grew up in the Bay Area and studied at the University of Oregon and received her MFA from the University of Florida. She has traveled widely, worked for nonprofit film companies, and has taught in India, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, and, of course, Georgia.
Waiting for the Electricty
“This book is a triumphant, sustained, comic performance. I can’t recall a contemporary American novel anywhere near as funny. Be aware that Waiting for the Electricity is defiantly un-PC, and also that it manages to provide between the lines as acute and mordant a reading of post-Communist Georgia as one could conceive. The narrator’s letters to Hillary Clinton are more brilliantly hapless than any of Herzog’s to his famous addressees. I got a kind of joy from experiencing Christina Nichol’s transformation of an extreme reality into further documentation of the human comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever before used the word ‘joy’ in quite this way.”
“Waiting for the Electricity is not just a wise, funny, moving novel but a feat of extraordinary literary ventriloquism. In these pages, the American writer Christina Nichol becomes the Georgian ‘Slims’ Achmed. Her Georgia is his Georgia. More remarkably, his America is her America. A fine debut, and a welcome antidote to the provincialism of so much recent American fiction.”
“Waiting for the Electricity is a wildly original and ambitious debut, a novel that tackles cultural clashes with satirical hilarity. I haven’t read a first novel this promising since The Confederacy of Dunces.”
Read a longer excerpt from Waiting for the Electricity on Guernica, an award-winning online magazine of ideas, art, poetry, and fiction.
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Waiting for the Electricity is now on Publishers Weekly, “the bible of the book business.”