The magic and mystery of Georgia: Hard by a Great Forest, by Leo Vardiashvili, reviewed

In my drafts folder there languishes an email to The Spectator pitching a letter from a then-forthcoming trip to Georgia. That was, alas, the spring of 2020. So when I saw Leo Vardiashvili’s debut novel billed as ‘a winding pursuit through the magic and mystery of returning to a lost Caucasian homeland’, I leapt at the vicarious travel opportunity. Fleeing the disintegrating post-Soviet republic in the early 1990s, Irakli Donauri and his sons (though not his wife) arrive in London – Tottenham, specifically – where they are surprised to find ‘no top hats, no smog and no afternoon tea’. The boys grow up; two decades pass; their mother never joins