Review: American Fairy Tales, by Dato Turashvili

As far as I can tell, there are only three books by Georgian author Dato Turashvili available in English — and this is the third. It’s a short book, a collection of vignettes some of which are true and some of which may be fairy tales. It tells the story of Turashvili’s 100-day visit to the United States in the summer of 2001. Applying to the US Embassy in Tbilisi to be accepted for a writers’ programme in Iowa, he makes it clear how little he cares for America. Other applicants took a different approach. The Americans invited Turashvili to come and discover their country. And then 9/11 happened while he was there.

In the course of his visit, Turashvili looks up an old flame from his youth, falls in love with a singer and meets Kurt Vonnegut. He talks a lot about Jack Kerouac which leads by way of Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan — who, it turns out, visited the Writers’ House in Tbilisi in 1985.