AWAKE by Harald Voetmann
AWAKE by Harald Voetmann
Title Awake
Author(s)/Editor(s) Harald Voetmann, translated by Johanne Sorgenfri Ottosen
Publisher Lolli Editions
Pages 135
Dimensions 130 x 197mm
Format Softcover
Year 2022

Harald Voetmann's eye-opening English debut, Awake, is the first book of his erudite and grotesque trilogy about humankind's inhuman will to conquer nature. In a shuttered bedroom in ancient Italy, the sleepless Pliny the Elder lies in bed obsessively dictating new chapters of his Natural History to his slave Diocles. Wheezing, imperious, and prone to nosebleeds, Pliny doesn't believe in spending his evenings in repose. No - to be awake is to be alive.

There's no time to waste if he is to classify every element of the natural world in a single work. By day, Pliny the Elder carries out his civic duties and gives the occasional disastrous public reading. But despite his astonishing ambition to catalogue everything from precious metals to the moon, Pliny the Elder still takes pleasure in the common rose.

After rushing to an erupting Mount Vesuvius, Pliny perishes in the ash, and his nephew, Pliny the Younger, becomes custodian of his life's work. But where Pliny the Elder saw starlight, Pliny the Younger only sees fireflies. In masterfully honed prose, Voetmann brings the formidable Pliny the Elder (and his pompous nephew) to life.

Awake is a comic delight about one of history's great minds and the not-so-great human body it was housed in.

HARALD VOETMANN (b. 1978) was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize and has written novels, short stories, poetry, and a monograph on the Roman poet Sulpicia. He also translates classical Latin literature, notably Petronius and Juvenal. Awake is the first in his series of three historical novels: the second centres on the sixteenth-century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, and the final book introduces the eleventh-century German mystic Othlo of St. Emmeram.

JOHANNE SORGENFRI OTTOSEN is a Danish translator. She currently lives in Copenhagen where she also works as an illustrator and literary editor.

Found in: Lolli Editions