“In [a] kind of smoky, calculated, impressionistic prose, Steavenson delivers precise Post-It notes rather than post cards, photographs that fall easily into the ‘Where the hell are we?’ tradition of literary travel writing. . . . Stories I Stole reminds us of a truth Americans too easily forgot, globalized world or not: Our planet abounds with countries that don’t work. . . . [Steavenson] demonstrates once again that we share this planet with countries we know almost nothing about.” Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Stories I Stole
978-0-8021-4067-8 • $13.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2004
A candid, engaging, and quietly lyrical book about a land and people unlike any other
Fed up with working for Time magazine in London, Wendell Steavenson spent two years in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Stories I Stole captures the exuberance of a fledgling nation of local despots, mountain tribes, blood feuds, and an unlimited flow of red wine. From President Shevardnadze’s rigged elections to horse races high in the mountains; from the eerie roadside artifacts of the Soviet era to the farcical power outages in the dead of winter, here is Georgia: weird, invigorating, and still coming to grips with the legacy of its most famous son, Joseph Stalin.
Far more than a travel book, this is a scintillating menagerie of true stories peopled by vividand sometimes insanecharacters. In the beach resort of Sukhumi, once the destination of every fashionable Russian but now wracked by civil war, Wendell plays hangman with a secret policeman. In the capital Tbilisiensconced in Levan’s Magic Room or lounging in the steam bathsshe hears about the latest duel or kidnapping. In Khevsureti, the meadows are dotted with blue-painted beehives and yellow flowers, while just over the border, there is war in Chechnya.