Wake me up, Someone
Cankar Award shortlist • Critics’ Sieve Award shortlist
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.
Year of publication: 2020
No. of pages: 285
The novel is a complex and multi-layered, yet extremely witty narrative about a young art historian from Slovenia, who comes to Florence to study baroque – not renaissance – art. At a party, she meets a mysterious and charming aristocrat and spends the night at his luxurious palace. However, their one-night stand will become a much stronger commitment: by becoming Alessandro’s lover, Ana had, without noticing at first, indeed died and entered a bizarre underworld of artists and other lost souls. Together, they journey through time and space, meeting old masters, masked exorcists, as well as Ana’s deceased family members and schoolfriends. Now, Ana can meet her dead brother, discover, in retrospect, what her friends, by now all dead, really thought of her, and reconsider the choices she’d made – was she right to study art history and go to Florence or should she have stayed in her village and work in a bar? Time isn’t linear anymore, centuries can feel like only a day has passed, the past and the future become a tangled web the two lovers can explore at will. Different realities become like dreams that can be interpreted simultaneously or as a whole.
Wake me up, someone is a genre-bending novel that rewards the reader with witty insights, a broad knowledge of art history, and many intertextual hints. After all, it seems to be set in Florence only in order to subvert the (bourgeois) ideal of perfection in favor of carnivalesque lushness, while art seems to be both s source of fascination and ridicule. Lucija Stepančič has a keen sense for irony and style, unmatched in Slovene contemporary literature.
Wake me up, Someone is an intelligent, gripping, and witty novel about two lovers, a naïve art historian and a mysterious aristocrat, traversing through time and space.