A white envelope flies through the air and lands in Vilde Berg's letterbox. She is at a midpoint in her life, and has everything she needs. But the envelope contains a message that will turn her life upside down – she is seriously ill.
Exuberant and curious, Vilde has always asked questions about herself and the world, and she has never taken the answers to these questions lightly. When your own life – something you take so for granted – can come to an end, what questions do you ask then? Time now seems both in short supply and drawn out – how long will she have to wait for answers, to hope and to recover? Does she have to hurry and use her time as best she can?
Parallel to Vilde's story about wanting to live, are all the stories about Vilde's childhood in the fabled Dovre mountains, where she stole a golden pen from grandfather. From this pen spring tales of a wistful and playful rat longing to be noticed and loved by the fox with the beautiful tail.
I Suggest We Wake Up was a new milestone in Beate Grimsrud's career, trembling with raw nerve and wild hopefulness, combined with the author's stubborn energy and distinct sense of humor.
WINNER OF THE 2020 BRAGE PRIZE FOR BEST FICTION!
The Brage Prize Jury said: This year’s winner of the Brage Prize for Fiction contains everything you could possibly hope to find between the covers of a new book. The winning novel is quite simply a cornucopia of pithy sentences, accurate observations, dizzying philosophical thoughts and wild imagination. The novel has a unique narrative voice which skips back and forth with unexpected leaps of thought and original associations without ever losing sight of reality. The narrative style creates a lively atmosphere and forms a successful contrast to the book’s dark story of cancer. The author has a well-developed sense of humour, and the novel is rich in quick repartees and spontaneous observations, which makes reading it a literary feast.The novel’s central character is diagnosed with cancer, and the depictions of the existential upheavals which follow in the wake of such shocking news are characterised by wisdom and insight. The author writes frankly and without sentiment about the various stages from ill to potentially healthy with a life-affirming attitude that imbues the language with exceptional power.
In this ground-breaking novel there are no barriers between reality and fantasy, and it feels completely natural to be joined by a rat and a fox, who discuss the big and small questions in life as the story progresses.
We would so have loved the chance to follow this exceptional and imaginative writer for years to come, but sadly it was not to be. And that is why we are especially pleased to announce that I Suggest We Wake Up by Beate Grimsrud, who died earlier this year, is the winner of this year’s Brage Prize for Fiction. The novel is another highpoint from a creative writer whose clever, enduring books deserve a long life.
R E V I E W S
Beate Grimsrud’s new novel I Suggest We Wake Up is one of the most poignant, strangest and entertaining Norwegian books I’ve read in a very, very long time.
(…) a deeply original and meaningful reading experience that you will surely remember for a long time.
VERDENS GANG (NORWAY) ******
A bold and humorous novel full of adventure and imagination.
(…) I am a fan of Beate Grimsrud’s books. Of her imagination, of her thinking, of her humor, which makes the reader wonder and think in new ways.
(…) It leaves me mentally out of breath. But it’s worth it.
(…) Grimsrud puts into words Vilde’s feelings and reactions through unique images that makes it possible for the reader to live through this heartbreaking story.
ADRESSEAVISEN (NORWAY) ******
Beate Grimsrud invites you into a linguistic roller coaster ride that makes you scream with joy and horror. Buckle up and read!
DAGBLADET (NORWAY) ******
(...) a strong and original novel.
(...) the story balances elegantly between reality, fairytale, dreams, nightmares, discussions of ecology, aesthetics, politics, friendship, love and difficult mothers.
I Suggest We Wake Up reaches broader and deeper, in the literary and existential sense. In a style that travels the lanes of association in a wise and learned mind, as well as the tangled pathways of a child’s inner thoughts, this novel is in every sense a fabulous report from someone gravely ill, about the dream she carries of continuing to exist.
(...) terrifyingly beautiful.
(...) It doesn’t get any better than this.
Beate Grimsrud’s novel about cancer is an innovative mix of realism and fairytale.
(…) With wisdom and credibility, it describes the existential earthquakes that occur in the wake of getting the shock message: you have cancer.
(…) she once again demonstrates exactly how skilled she is at charging events and people with extended significance.
BERGENS TIDENDE (NORWAY)
(...) The woman with the gold pen.
(...) Beate Grimsrud has yet again written a novel without one bad sentence.
(...) Each sentence carries content, quivers of excitement, strut of the future or sinks in sadness in the author's search for continuation and connections that create life.
(...) Her novels are, this year's novel is no exception, stories that elevate the human condition and its capacity for art and love and pursuit of life and friendship, to a higher level.
Beate Grimsrud’s new novel is like water for a thirsty throat.
DAGENS NYHETER (SWEDEN)
Beate Grimsrud has written her best novel to date.
SYDSVENSKA DAGBLADET (SWEDEN)
I Suggest We Wake Up is an anxiety-ridden, fun, and inviting read, full of airy light and dark depths.
Grimsrud writes more beautifully than ever.
The novel has an emotional pressure you just cannot defend yourself against. But you don't want to defend yourself, either, because Beate Grimsrud writes so well.
NORRA SKÅNE (SWEDEN)