Late Night Library

Christina Nichol

Dear Hillary,

Your version of Democracy and our version are quite different. Our version means if the leader says something we say, “Yes, you are right!”

By the way, I just read that U.S. Troops, GI Joes, are recently deployed in Georgia, fighting against terrorism :- ), training Georgian “commandos” ;- ) called Special Operation Caspian Guard, and U.S. is spending 64 million dollars for their training. But do you have any idea who they are fighting against? Perhaps a villager to get access to his potato field to bury an oil pipeline? New government says we are approaching new democracy :- ) but we just have to wait.

I have some good news to report to you though. You will be happy to know that your own local Center for Democracy in Batumi enlarged their office after they evicted some families who were living in the east wing. They now also have purchased a modern air-conditioning unit which will be useful in the summer.

In other news: thousands of pigs died in my village last month. It was probably a conspiracy by the Turkish pork sellers because our scientists say that Georgian pigs have the best quality of meat. It won’t be a good kingkali year because there’s no pork to put in the noodle. But don’t be sad, Hillary. It’s nothing.

–Excerpted from Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol. Copyright © 2014 by Christina Nichol. Published in 2014 by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.

Christina Nichol: When we finally got electricity, our heart’s radiance conked out.


LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?

CN: Fazil Iskander’s Tales of Chegem, a collection of hilariously told village tales from the former Soviet republic of Abkhazia, and, probably, Erma Bombeck’s, The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank.

LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?

CN: Though my writing is not necessarily a hippie product, the most important ingredient is the same as the last one in the list of ingredients in a bottle of kombucha: love. Love is the real work. Good writing is the residue.

LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.

CN: Love in the Time of Cholera because that book infused the days with a kind of hallucinogenic love spell, the way you feel after eating too much rhubarb (because high doses are toxic).

LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.

CN: Here is a question someone did ask me but that I wish I had answered differently: “There hasn’t been a woman novelist as funny as you since perhaps Flannery O’Connor. Why are humor and satire so uncommon in women writers?” My answer should have been, “But women ARE funny. Many people just don’t want to admit it because humor is destabilizing. If too many women expressed their inner humor, who knows what could happen!”

Get a copy of Waiting for Electricity at IndieBound.


Christina Nichol won the 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Nichol grew up in the Bay Area, 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 taught English in India, South Korea, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, and, of course, Georgia. Her work has been published in Harper’s, Guernica, and Lucky Peach.

Posted on: August 22, 2014 · Blog, Homepage, Rookie Report ·Tags: , , , .

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