The best Slovenian novels of 2020
Recently, three novels, published by Goga Publishing, have been nominated for three significant literary awards: Mirana Likar’s Storyteller is on the Kresnik shortlist (the most prominent award for best novel), Andrej Blatnik’s Holes is nominated for the Cankar Award (book of the year), and Lucija Stepančič’s Can Somebody Please Wake Me? for both the Cankar Award and the Critics’ Sieve award (book of the year, as chosen by the association of literary critics).
Mirana Likar: The Storyteller
A heartfelt portrait of the 20th century through the story of one man’s will to survive.
The novel’s protagonist, caught in the whirlwind of history, is a man of many names: a soldier having fought on opposing sides, a prisoner, a lover, and an interrogator. Towards the end of his life, he finally fineds someone willing to listen to hist story. But will he reveal everything?
“The construct we perceive as history, deviates from individual experience. Besides being smart, one also needs to be lucky in order to survive. But luck will pass one by unless one makes space for it. So I wanted to know how my protagonist could manage to make space for luck amid those dire circumstances.” – Mirana Likar
Lucija Stepančič: Can Somebody Please Wake Me?
The book is a clever and highly amusing deconstruction of several genres, smart, yet careful not to be too perfect.
After a party in Florence, a young student of art history finds herself in the apartment – and the arms – of a mysterious aristocrat, only to realize that he is several hundred years old. Or, rather, dead. Together, they embark on a fascinating journey through time, visiting dead relatives, doomed artists, and witty tricksters.
“Florence commonly epitomizes the renaissance era, perceived as the glorious pinnacle of humanity. But what fascinates me is the darkness following such bright times, the perfect place for a sort of artistic lumpenproletariat of fantastic losers.” – Lucija Stepančič
Andrej Blatnik: Holes
The book will also speak to music lovers with its many allusions to the history of rock music, including the myth of a lost – yet supposedly seminal – recording by a well-known artist from former Yugoslavia!
In a time after an unknown cataclysm when everyone seeks shelter in their holes full of canned food, a man, having crawled to the surface, survives a violent encounter and joins his rescuer on a mission to save the world. Only this time, they set out to do it with the help of art.
“I was fascinated by the idea of writing a book in a form I haven’t seen before. In this book, I combined several genres: the main plot of the story is followed by dramatic (and inner) dialogues, meta-textual didascalia and even prose poems.” – Andrej Blatnik