Based on true events, a thrilling marriage of reportage and lived experience, Sacred Darkness tears apart the fabric of Russian Soviet repression with biting humor and wry insight. Here are the stories of citizens who find themselves in extraordinary and remarkable conditions. Iona, the philosopher and bon vivant; Merab, whose discourses resemble those of Socrates; Irakli, the learned classicist; Anderson, the librarian; the gourmands, Maximovich and Petrov; Kukharuk, the barber. These people and many more form the unofficial aristocracy, the intelligentsia, of the gulag, and with them, serving a sentence for political agitation, Levan Berdzenishvili, to his surprise, spends some of the most enjoyable and enlightening days of his life.
Levan Berdzenishvili bears witness to these remarkable lives. Each chapter carries a single person’s name and his story. Collectively, these portraits create a multifaceted and vast picture of life in the Soviet Union and during its demise. A nation seeks to suppress its brightest citizens, to keep them locked away in the dark. But in that darkness, unbeknown to the jailor, bonds stronger than walls are forming.
Born in 1953 in the Black Sea coastal city of Batumi, Levan Berdzenishvili is the author of numerous books and essays on Ancient Comedies, Modern Society and Latin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union he became active in politics and led several social campaigns. He has been a member of the Georgian Parliament since 2012.