Review: You Will Have a Black Labrador by Nino Gugunishvili (2020)

You Will Have a Black Labrador by Nino Gugunishvili


Love, memories, family, enduring friendships, cooking, movies, dogs, travels, hairstyles, and saying Yes to many No’s in a witty, yet often sentimental, journey of self-discovery…

You Will Have a Black Labrador is a collection of semiautobiographical essays forming a narrative about a modern Georgian woman. Her stories range from the search for a perfect romantic partner to exploring food as an integral part of the Georgian culture. Many of the vignettes centre on childhood memories or weird family traditions, such as the way family members stay connected no matter if they’re deceased or alive. One essay reveals how making a simple omelette can change your life; and that No can be the most powerful word in any language. She shows us, too, that a haircut can be a tribute to the movies you love as well as a path to your freedom; and how owning a dog always brings unexpected experiences. In this poignantly humorous collection, reality mixes and interferes with an imaginative world in so many surprising ways.


My final read of 2020 was this utterly delightful little book, kindly sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. I love something a bit different, as my two regular readers may know, and the idea of semiautobiographical essays intrigued me, so when Nino sent me a lovely email offering to send me her book, I jumped at the chance.

This is a slim volume that takes no time at all to read – I gulped down Nino’s vignette-like essays in a single sitting before my cup of tea had time to get cold. With titles like “A Long Story of a Short Hair” and “A Belated Apology to My Dog,” this is a wonderfully quirky, family-centred, personal exploration, and I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time in Nino’s bright, funny company. She has a lovely turn of phrase, and the book strikes exactly the right tone between wry and reflective.

There are some interesting insights into Georgian culture, as well as plenty of refreshingly honest confessions and amusing anecdotes. There is a warmth to Nino’s writing, a curiosity and generosity that shines through, and it is a pleasure to read her stories.

This charming little book feels like a proper chat with an old friend, and in these isolated times, what could be more comforting than that? I would recommend this to anyone who is finding long tomes difficult to get into at the moment – this is the perfect reading slump buster, a brief window into a bright and funny mind.

You Will Have a Black Labrador by Nino Gugunishvili is out now and is available to purchase here.


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