Canceled Plans? –Check! Panic and Fear? – Check! Self- Isolation? – Check! Missing Friends? – Check! Gaining Weight? – Check! Binge-Watching TV? – Check! Lengthy Self – diggings? – Check! Hope? – Check, check, check! Who would have thought that Global Pandemic, Self-Isolation, Cluster, and a Lockdown were to become the trendiest words in 2020? Who would have imagined the world would freeze and people would stay home shattered with fear, panic, uncertainty towards their future? How do we adjust to this changing reality, when none of our questions have answers when plans turn upside down, and things get totally out of control?
In her new book: “From My Balcony to Yours,” author Nino Gugunishvili shares her personal account during the first several months of the COVID -19 global pandemic in the form of short stories and observations.
Nino Gugunishvili’s writing biography includes a collection of short stories “ You Will Have a Black Labrador” and a women’s fiction novel “ Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock.”
Last year, I read Nino’s book You Will Have a Black Labrador and thought it was such a lovely, charming collection – so I was delighted when Nino kindly offered to send me another of her books in exchange for an honest review. From My Balcony to Yours is, I think, just about the first ‘pandemic lit’ I have read (I mean, we’re living it, and reading is my escape, so why would I…) – but somehow I knew that with Nino at the helm, it wouldn’t bring me down.
This is another very slim book, the perfect accompaniment to a lazy Sunday morning or a rainy afternoon. In similarly vignette-like chapters to Black Labrador, Nino shares her thoughts and musings on last year’s lockdown, in a way that actually made me nostalgic for Lockdown 1! It brought back a lot of the feelings I had first time round – the sense of time slowing, of the busyness of the outside world subsiding, of the shrinking of horizons to the four walls of home and a few local walks. There is Nino’s signature mix of humour, poignancy and eccentricity here, all written in a chatty, quirky style that I just so happen to adore. She skips through topics, dips in and out of memories, comments on the strangeness that so quickly became our norm, mentions both the boredom and the novelty, makes jokes, shares secrets, and always ends on a hopeful note.
I don’t know quite what it is about her writing, but Nino gives of herself and her thoughts so merrily, so openly, that it creates a real sense of intimacy. I’ve never met her, but I can imagine sitting outside a café in the sunshine with her, whiling away an entire afternoon chatting, laughing and being totally honest, in that way that sometimes you only can be with strangers, and just having the best time. Get this book, and Black Labrador, stick them in your bag, and when we start going places again, you’ll have a little slice of entertaining loveliness wherever you go.
From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili is out now and is available to purchase here.