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Fever Dream

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Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream…

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.

Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.

183 pages, Hardcover

First published October 2, 2014

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About the author

Samanta Schweblin

45 books2,522 followers
Samanta Schweblin was chosen as one of the 22 best writers in Spanish under the age of 35 by Granta. She is the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and been translated into 20 languages. Fever Dream is her first novel and is longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin.

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5 stars
7,619 (23%)
4 stars
13,113 (39%)
3 stars
8,728 (26%)
2 stars
2,574 (7%)
1 star
782 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,529 reviews
Profile Image for Lark Benobi.
Author 1 book1,720 followers
January 30, 2019
I finished the story last night and I'm still magnificently unsettled. As I read I was gripped by a suffocating sense of dread that never let up. The story is told in dialog, and neither of the participants in the conversation are fully connected with a rational world of cause-and-effect. Nothing is ever completely explained. The novel asks you to banish any thoughts like "what is going on?" from your mind as you read, and to yield to its unhinged and unexplained storytelling style.

As in a real fever dream--as in a nightmare--the events in the novel move in shuddering and unpredictable ways, from the mundane to the terrifying and back again. Always though events are closely anchored to one or another universally human fear: the fear of paralysis; the fear of abandonment; the fear of dying; the fear that one's children are in danger; the fear of being trapped.

The New Yorker review of Fever Dream suggests that this novella represents a new genre of storytelling--the reviewer writes:

"The genius of “Fever Dream” is less in what it says than in how Schweblin says it, with a design at once so enigmatic and so disciplined that the book feels as if it belongs to a new literary genre altogether."

Unlike the reviewer though I recognized strong similarities between Schweblin's work here and contemporary authors Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) and Amelia Gray(Threats; Gutshot).

Each of these authors writes in a straightforward, disarmingly affectless tone, about horrific events suddenly invading the typical lives of typical people. In all of these works, even as the stories become more and more terrifying, the calm rational voice of the narrator remains. It's a very disturbing combination. And somehow it reflects perfectly my experience of daily life in the 21st century, which might be summarized as--"how can this be real?"
Profile Image for Kat.
260 reviews79.1k followers
September 6, 2020
thoroughly enjoyed the way samanta schweblin took inspiration from the use of harmful pesticides in argentina,,,,using horror to explore current issues is truly where it’s at. i am also always down for a horror story revolving around a mother/child dynamic. however, despite all the arguably good things about this novella, i never experienced the tense, feverish (ha, bc title) feelings that others described going through while they read. soooo, would def rec, but wish it had fucked with me more i guess.
Profile Image for Adina.
793 reviews3,061 followers
January 9, 2020
1/6 from Booker International Prize Shortlist.

Engrossing, Weird, Well written and amazingly structured, Dark, Confusing, Upsetting, Hallucinating, Intoxicating, Crazy, Surreal, Captivating, did I say Weird?

I followed my friends’ recommendation to read this short novel in one sitting and I can confirm it is the best way to go through it. It is an essential requisite to enjoy the novel, to enter and remain in the intoxicating atmosphere the author weaves around the reader. The spell would have been destroyed if I had approached it any other way. I needed 2 uninterrupted hours to read this and I thought a plane trip to Rome to be the perfect opportunity. The bonus was a turbulent flight which elevated the scary feeling of the book to new heights, so to say.

I was complaining in one of my last reviews that dull books are the hardest to review. That was before Fever Dream. How do I review a book that it is still a mystery to me, one week after I finished it. I find it very difficult to make sense of this freighting and crazy ride that Schweblin took me on.

They’re like worms. What kind of worms? Like worms, all over. It’s the boy who’s talking, murmuring into my ear. I am the one asking questions. Worms in the body? Yes, in the body. Earthworms? No, another kind of worms. It’s dark and I can’t see. The sheets are rough, they bunch up under my body. I can’t move, but I’m talking. It’s the worms. You have to be patient and wait. And while we wait, we have to find the exact moment when the worms come into being. Why? Because it’s important, it’s very important for us all. I try to nod, ”

This is how the novel starts. These are one of the strangest opening lines that I’ve ever read. Amanda is lying on a bed, waiting to die and next to her is a child, David. The novel is structured as a dialogue between the two of them, set in the present about Amanda’s recollection of events carried out a few days before. Those events are set during a vacation she takes with her daughter, Nina, to the country side and involves her neighbor Carla and his son, David, the one that is coordinating the interview from the Amanda’s bedside.

The more we advance in the story, it becomes increasingly frightening and surreal. I was feverishly turning the virtual pages to find an explanation/resolution to what was happening, to understand who the worms were. The ending left me more puzzled than the beginning but the suffocating and intense journey was worth it.

I can identify three major themes of the novel. 1st one is about the destructive role of industrial agriculture and pesticides. This theme is also discussed by the author in an interview:

"This story could be set anywhere. In fact, the first time I heard about pesticides and their terrible consequences was through a documentary about this subject in France. But, mainly because of corruption, Latin America has the worst agrochemical regulations and agreements. And Argentina, in particular, is one of the biggest importers of soya—one of the products more related with pesticides. We spread this soya all over the world; it is the base of a lot of our food. Soya is in everything: cookies, frozen fish, cereal bars, soups, bread, all kinds of flour, even ice cream!"

Second theme is probably the most powerful, and it would probably have an even bigger impact for a reader that is a parent. It revolves around parent’s anxiety and the “safe distance” a mother allows between her and her child. Some parents see danger everywhere and are obsessed to protect their children and sometimes this obsession is not enough to save the child. Schweblin addresses this distance and the origin of evil “the worm” in the same interview

“I tried to give a subtle meaning, really subtle, about this idea that if there is an end of the world, it will begin with a mom. The tie with David is that when things become so bad that it’s all disasters in the world, when everything is so terrible, the small drama between two or three characters might be really important. It might be the beginning of something really deep, where a simple question helps you know where the evil starts—and if you know where the evil is, you can fight against it. When that happens, everything becomes dangerous. In some ways, that’s why the “rescue distance” gets broken: Everything in the world Amanda inhabits is dangerous. ”

3rd theme is what gives the novel the surreal, horror like atmosphere. It deals with the transmigration of the soul and you will have to read the novel to see what this is all about.

I know I do not make a lot of sense but believe me, it is hard to. You will understand if you read the novel, which you should.
Profile Image for Guille.
739 reviews1,442 followers
December 13, 2018
"Distancia de rescate" es una novela inquietante que te aplastará en el sillón del que no podrás levantarte hasta terminar de leer. No te preocupes, es cortita.

Una narración sobre una obsesión y una culpa en un contexto de desastre ecológico. El cuidado, la vigilancia del hijo, su seguridad, se transforma en una obsesión malsana para una madre que asiste al relato ponzoñoso, lleno de remordimientos y atávicas supersticiones de otra madre que por una vez no respetó la justa (?) distancia de rescate (esa distancia máxima con el hijo que nos permitirá salvaguardarlo de todo peligro).

Baste con estas notas. El lector debe tener el placer de ir descubriendo las claves de la narración, de ir acostumbrando la vista a la espesa niebla que empieza cubriéndolo todo y que nos confunde haciéndonos ver monstruos y peligros allá donde fijemos la mirada. Debemos seguir el ritmo que tan hábilmente nos va marcando Schweblin. Ella nos acompañará, no siempre corta la distancia de rescate, conduciéndonos sin apenas indicaciones, aunque todas relevantes, nada es superfluo, hacia el destino que nos tiene reservado sin que sepamos con certeza si el camino que recorremos es de terror, fantástico, onírico o es otra cosa o todas juntas.

Un relato que nos llega únicamente a través de una de las madres y a instancias de una voz que apremia a contar. La autora sabe como contagiarnos la prisa, la impaciencia de esa voz por saber, y que en nosotros toma la forma de necesidad por hacer pie, por abandonar el terreno fangoso, nada firme, por el que nos lleva (y ojalá no descubráis muy pronto las claves de un relato quizás demasiado supeditado a las inseguridades del lector). Y junto a esa impaciencia, Schweblin consigue magníficamente provocarnos el desasosiego ante una catástrofe que advertimos inminente, ante un peligro que no sabemos muy bien por donde aparecerá y en qué consistirá.

Disponte a la lectura con la mente libre y ligera, los ojos muy abiertos y dispuesto a ser tú quien cierre el relato, quien elija las claves que lo concluya.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,692 reviews14.1k followers
December 27, 2016
3.5 Strange, so very, very strange, but intriguing and unique. The title, Fever Dream, and indeed this reads like a disturbing dream. A young woman and mother is dying in hospital, a young boy David at her side, not her son but he wants her to remember how she got there and where her young daughter is, what append to her?

First translated novel from this Argentinean author, it is a novel of sparse prose, but unrelenting tension. David tries to keep Amanda on point, to remember only what is important but even dying she needs to understand things her way, go over it all, despite her safety distance with her daughter, this still happened. Like a dream it often seems unreal but the message the novel conveys is very real, a warning of things, dangers that cannot be taken back, the very real harm they cause.

This one will not be for everyone, but it flows very quickly, under 200 pages as well. Very different in its presentation but because of it memorable

ARC from publisher.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,079 reviews6,882 followers
June 3, 2020
This was a DNF for me. I guess I could call it fantasy or perhaps a paranormal story. I read the first ten pages or so and went back and re-read them trying to figure out who was who and what was happening. It starts out as story of a young boy who is seriously ill. A “healer” promises to cure him but warns his mother that some of the boy’s personality will be changed and shared with other kids. Apparently a young girl starts to take on some of the boy’s personality. By page 40 I was still so confused that I went back again, skimming, to try to figure out who was who’s mother, who the narrator was talking to and what was going on. I felt very lost in the story and that it was becoming too much work to try to figure it out so I gave up. So I’m not giving it a rating. In fairness, I note that GR ratings give it a 3.7 which is “ok” and some GR friends gave it a good review. It was also on the long list for the Man Booker International prize. Just not for me.


The book is translated from the Spanish. The Argentina author (b. 1978) has written a couple of novels and three collections of short stories. She now lives in Berlin.
Profile Image for Robin.
475 reviews2,552 followers
October 3, 2020
More like a nightmare than a dream. A perfect nightmare. You know how when you try to describe one but it always ends up sounding strange and ridiculous, and not scary to the listener?

(I have to get out, I keep seeing a red circle spinning in front of me, a mouth at the centre going wah, wah, wah, wah... and I know if I don't get out I will DIE.)

Well, Samanta Schweblin doesn't have that problem. She captures the concept of a nightmare perfectly, and put it to page. The grotesque, the way time stretches and skips, the flat affect of those present, the deep fear, the deepest fear.

(There she is, my aunt sitting in a booth at the Chinese restaurant. I passed the twins singing and swinging in the mall. I'm hungry but there's only water. I complain. My aunt, displeased, pulls out a white bucket from under the table. Live snake heads are hurled at me, hissing, cartoonish.)

There are worms, or things that feel like worms. There are deformed and dying children. Animals who drink from a stream and keel over. The mother of Nina is laying in a hospital, about to die. She is trying to make sense of it in a conversation with David, a boy who hasn't been himself for quite some time.

(I'm in a home for the elderly. The home is on fire. I move in slow motion. Flames everywhere. Heat. I get out, and see the culprit is a skeleton. He laughs and laughs from the fourth story window. He throws lit matches at me, a jack-o'-lantern, a candle. He's not worried - he'll get me.)

It might be about your child dying on your watch. It might be about the deadly effects of pesticides. It might be about the absurdity of making sense of anything at the end of your life. The story is short, it leaves questions, plenty of room for raised eyebrows and frustration and interpretation. Also room for admiration, identification, that "Oh, yes, god, I've felt that at the pit of my stomach. Oh god, I feel that now."

(It's soft. It's heavy. It's a huge, white rabbit with terrifying pink eyes. Or are they red. It is smothering me. It's sitting on my face. I can't breathe. Rabbit fur in my mouth, rabbit muscle, no air, it's as big as a pillow, bigger, I can't see, can't breathe, can't move, so much blood behind my eyes.)
Profile Image for Hannah.
587 reviews1,046 followers
March 16, 2017
That was weirdly fascinating. Absolutely worth a read. But confusing, very much so. But in a good way.

My thoughts are all over the place for this one. While I really enjoyed reading this book, it still left me feeling fairly confused during and afterwards. Usually I try to write my reviews as quickly as possible after finishing a book but this time I couldn't have done that because I seriously needed some time to gather my thoughts.

This is one of those books that isn't really "about" anything. I mean, yes, on the surface it is about a woman in a hospital talking to a boy that isn't hers about what has happened to her and her daughter. But that isn't really it, this is just the first layer of meaning you can unpack from this short but impactful book. It is about a mother's fear, about voodoo, about trust, about losing everything, about fever dreams, and other dreams, about nothing at all. The book is structured as a dialogue between Amanda and the boy and as such it is wonderfully circular and weird and just like a conversation one might have (minus the worms).

This is a book that practically begs a reread, there is so much to unpack, so much to understand and this understanding didn't happen for me the first time around. I mean this in the best way possible. I love how highly metaphorical this weird little book is and I think there just is something really special about the whole experience. I definitely understand why it is longlisted for the Man Booker International and I am excited to see more people reading this as a result. It is absolutely worth it - if you're okay with weirdness and thing being just beyond the grasp of reason.

I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Oneworld Publications in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!
Profile Image for María.
144 reviews3,062 followers
June 12, 2019
Excelente novela (¿relato?) con tintes esotéricos y lección ecológica de fondo (¿seguro?). Que algo tan corto sea tan sumamente inquietante me deja muerta. Tampoco puedo resistirme a la temática madre-hija ni al veneno. Uf, el veneno. No conocía a la autora, pero me dicen por el pinganillo que su futuro brilla. Me alegra habernos visto las caras. Quién sabe qué más es capaz de hacer...

Profile Image for Mark .
367 reviews301 followers
November 24, 2020
Have you ever had a dream where you are trying to run through something sticky and thick like mud, bubble gum or quicksand and you can’t quite get moving and you’re surrounded by misery, sadness and it’s all a bit murky and mysterious?

Well reading Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin felt just like that.

The story involves a boy called David visiting a woman called Amanda in a small rural hospital. It is essentially a conversation between the two of them. Something bad has happened or is happening to Amanda, but we don’t know exactly know what.

This is a very scary tale, and some scenes were really, really frightening (to me). It’s not about gore, monsters, murder or creatures – the fright is kind of low lying, mysterious, unseen. But something IS wrong. I really don’t want to spoil the experience by saying anymore.

But the thing that struck me about this book the most, is the pacing and the clever way the author manages this. For me, it was two paced, a story told in two gears – one of the characters in the conversation is in a rush, the other wants to take time. I was stuck in this ‘no-mans land’ where I wanted to hear more details slowly, but I also felt the need to hurry along as if there was some sort of imperative to do so. It honestly was the weirdest feeling. Truly strange. In fact, writing about it now is making my arms tingle and my chest and stomach feel funny. In some ways a bit like you may feel during a nightmare.

For a book to achieve such a visceral result in the reader is very clever, this author knows what she’s doing.

I have been searching for a terrifying experience for a long time – all within the safe confines of my house, with my pup and a cuppa by my side of course – and this one certainly delivered. I will have to seek out more work by this Argentinian author.

A great book.

5 Stars

Profile Image for Blair.
1,741 reviews4,159 followers
February 19, 2017
Do you ever read two (or more) completely unrelated books, in quick succession, that seem – somehow, by coincidence – spiritually identical? This has happened to me recently with Iain Reid's I’m Thinking of Ending Things and Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream. (I'm tempted to add Jen George's short story collection The Babysitter at Rest too, since it's insistently dreamlike and illogical, but it's too irreverent to be a true match for the others.) Both Ending Things and Fever Dream are very short novellas that can easily be read in their entirety in an hour or two. They share a sense of shifting nightmare logic and a horrible compulsive darkness that makes you burn through the pages in search of an answer. Both feel predominantly like horror stories despite the absence of many of the genre's typical hallmarks and the fact that they are not packaged as horror.

Fever Dream opens with a disorientating conversation; I had to read the first page several times. Eventually it becomes apparent that the narrator, Amanda, is lying in a hospital bed and answering the questions put to her, with some urgency, by a boy named David. She is telling a story, or rather recounting things that have happened to her, while David is trying to identify 'the important thing', 'the exact moment when the worms come into being'. What worms? Well, exactly. It doesn't seem likely they are actual worms, but in this aptly-named novella you can never be sure.

A narrative emerges, taking place just a few days earlier. Amanda and her young daughter, Nina, meet David and his mother, Carla, while on holiday. Carla claims there is something wrong with David, and then she, in turn, tells Amanda a story. When David was three, he was poisoned after drinking contaminated water from a stream. Carla took him to 'the green house', where a local woman performed a 'migration': sending David's soul into another's body so he could continue to live. Since then, his body has been inhabited by the spirit of another. So Carla says. What happens to Amanda and Nina after this is what leads to Amanda's hospitalisation and David's demand that they pinpoint 'the exact moment', 'before time runs out'. Though some aspects of the story seem meaningful to Amanda, David dispassionately skips over anything he deems unimportant. Some details are recurring motifs: Carla's gold bikini, Nina's cuddly toy mole. Then there's the matter of the 'rescue distance', Amanda's obsessive idea of how far she can safely be from her daughter in case of an emergency.

It's quite a strange thing to read a story where you fear the ending but feel a desperate need to get to it. Fever Dream made me feel sick, but I can't tell you why. It really is like a nonsensical dream from which you wake with a great sense of dread, as though you've had a terrible nightmare, even though the details weren't particularly horrifying in themselves. I'm really not sure I understood it, and reading other reviews, including those from professional critics, I'm not convinced many other people did either. It teases some dreadful shock but never shows its hand. In the end, that lack of an answer, the fruitless search for understanding, is the real horror.

I received an advance review copy of Fever Dream from the publisher through NetGalley.

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Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books547 followers
August 28, 2017
A fast read, and while I read it, I did find it compelling, but the ending is totally dissatisfying and very odd. Maybe I missed something crucial, however I felt there was such a build-up and such tension, I was expecting some great revelation at the end. A talented writer (and translator), but perhaps better suited to the short story, or even poetry. Her language is moving and lyrical, but the story feels incomplete to me.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for julieta.
1,116 reviews18k followers
July 10, 2016
Qué buena es la Shweblin! Tiene un centro de tensión en todo el libro que no te suelta. Su manera de narrar esta historia, en algún lugar entre el suspenso, el miedo, el terror, es más que nada porque la estructura que maneja es muy buena! Desde el principio estás escuchando a todos los personajes, y todo el tiempo sabes que algo va a pasar. Muy bueno!
Profile Image for Gabriel.
442 reviews586 followers
October 28, 2021
Acabo de leer un relato malrollero y adictivo a la par que inquietante. Pero no solo eso, sino que también es bastante asfixiante, retorcido, opresivo, potente, angustiante, aterrador... y podría seguir; que conste que lo digo muy enserio. Justo así es como Samanta Schweblin se convierte en esas escritoras a las que yo le leería absolutamente todo lo que publique, cosa que he comprobado con esta novela corta.

La historia está fuertemente enmarcada por la intriga y el suspenso psicológico, y lo trabaja de una manera que se te hace amena y adictiva. La poca extensión de esta novelette es la razón de que una vez que lo cojas no puedas soltarlo hasta su envolvente y aterrador desenlace. En fin, que te lo lees rapidísimo y como lector asistes a una conversación bastante incómoda y asfixiante entre Amanda y un niño pequeño llamado David; dos personas que están conectadas a raíz de otros personajes y situaciones que no quiero revelar y que ellos poco a poco desentrañaran en conjunto. Para eso, hay que leer la historia y a medida de que la conversación se va profundizando conocemos los escabrosos detalles que permiten que cada quien le de su sentido al relato contado.

El eje de la historia está puesto básicamente sobre la temática de la maternidad y esa distancia de rescate que es muy necesaria ante situaciones en peligro para los hijos, aunque esto llevado un poco al lado insano de la obsesión. Y sí, hay un peligro latente e inminente en esa atmósfera extraña y tensionante en el que se ambienta el relato; de hecho, hay un desastre ecológico de buenas proporciones. Además, está esa parte de realismo mágico en el que lo fantástico toma relevancia en la historia. Pero sobretodo, lo más interesante es la sensación de que en la medida que te vas sumergiendo en la historia de Amanda y Nina y de Carla y David lo que se encuentra uno son más preguntas que respuestas. Es una trama en la que todo se basa en suposiciones y en la pluralidad de conclusiones a las que se puede llegar con lo poco que se cuenta. Una auténtica maravilla por lo angustioso e inquietante que resulta pero más aún por ese malestar que te deja; el desasosiego de no saber qué es lo que ocurre con exactitud.
45 reviews100 followers
February 7, 2017
I couldn't put this down. It's a quick read anyway, but still the story draws you in from the first page. There's so much going on, and Schweblin's delivery is perfectly paced as the plot develops. There is an eerie, something's-not-quite-right tone which presides over the story, and subtle reminders of this pop up every once in a while. I feel that the ending was a little rushed; in a way it finishes the story, but also leaves the reader with a lot of questions.
Profile Image for Mevsim Yenice.
Author 4 books966 followers
April 7, 2021
Tekinsizliği muhteşem verebilen bir yazar Schweblin. Zaman kaymasına rağmen anlatımın hiç kopmaması, duyguların "kurtarma mesafesinden" bile mesafeli ama vurucu aktarılması, minik gibi görünen korkutucu ekolojik fısıltı, karakterlerin azıcık zamanda ses tonunu bile duyulacak kadar başarılı derinleşmesi hayran bıraktı. E daha ne olsun :)
Profile Image for Peter Boyle.
479 reviews584 followers
June 12, 2017
Hmmm, how to review Fever Dream? I don't think I've ever read anything like it before. It has the most incredible sense of unease running through its twisting narrative. I had no idea what was going on for most of the novel and I'm still not entirely sure I do. But it's not a story I will forget in a hurry.

Amanda, a holidaymaker in rural Argentina, lies in a hospital bed. David, the creepy son of a local woman named Carla, sits nearby and presses Amanda to recount the events that have led her here. She can't see or move. David says it's because of the worms and that "we have to find the exact moment when the worms come into being . . . It’s very important, it’s very important for us all." Amanda tells him about the recent conversations she has had with his mother, which reveal a distressing tale. She knows she is about to die in this dark hospital room. But what are these worms David keeps talking about? What is the "important thing" he constantly refers to? And what on earth has become of her young daughter Nina?

Maternal anxiety is one of the main themes of Fever Dream. Amanda talks about "the rescue distance" throughout the story, a continuous mental calculation she makes of how long it would take to rescue Nina in an emergency. Carla initially felt the same concern for David's well-being but ever since the terrifying incident that occurred, she feels like she has lost him. He seems like a different person, she says. Amanda is eternally conscious of Nina's safety but it only takes one horrifying, seemingly innocuous moment for her world to unravel.

I've since discovered that Schweblin is a big fan of David Lynch and especially of Twin Peaks. His influence is strong in this novel, especially in the shifting border between dreams and reality. She says that the "intense feeling that something strange can happen" is something she wants to transfer to her readers. Well she certainly succeeds on that level. I can't remember the last time I've read a novel so unsettling. There are hints at an ecological root to the horror that unfolds, but most of this disturbing tale left to our own interpretation. Fever Dream is a unique and daring debut - its haunting, innovative storytelling marks Samanta Schweblin out as a writer of enormous talent.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,192 reviews1,243 followers
October 4, 2017

This little book is like a shotglass full of crazy.

Bottoms up and brace for the effect.

Amanda and her young daughter, Nina, are renting a cottage near a horse ranch. It's a very different place from their usual summer retreats. Both of them linger by the pool. The warm sun and the soft breeze lull them into a blissful state.

But the presence of another female, Carla, causes them to turn their heads in her direction. She is barefoot and wearing a shiny gold bikini. Carla opens the car door and slides behind the wheel. Amanda and Nina find themselves inside the vehicle, too, as Carla begins to tell them a very complex and unsettling story about her son, David.

As the story unfolds further, we find Amanda recanting her own story to this elusive David while laying in a hospital bed. There is a certain urgency in the telling as if Amanda's hours are numbered......

Fever Dream is the first novel of Samanta Schweblin and a finalist for the Maio Vargas Llosa Prize and winner of the Tigre Juan Prize. It's been translated by Megan McDowell. Schweblin is originally from Buenos Aires. But it is the Buenos Aires connection that intrigues me. Perhaps the tale within is a composite of regional folklore twisted and diced with haunting recollections of things "that go bump in the Buenos Aires night". There's also the flavor of sights and sounds that hold no particular meaning except that these elements give off a whiff of crawling decay that sticks to your fingertips.

Be aware of one thing: Fever Dream will certainly not be for everyone. Either you get it or you don't. There's not much in between. Is it the fever that rages within the story or is the creepy story itself carried on the back of a dream? Only one way to find out.
Profile Image for Emily B.
424 reviews417 followers
April 21, 2021
Fever dream was interesting and original.

When reading I felt the need to complete it in one sitting to get the full effect of the writing and the story. As it’s a fairly short book and easy to read, this was easy to do.

However I was hoping for it to all come together and make sense at the end and unfortunately it just didn’t.
Profile Image for Yücel.
76 reviews
March 29, 2021
Okurken bu kadar gerildiğim başka bir kitap hatırlamıyorum. Schweblin ‘in romancılığı bence öykücülüğünden daha kuvvetli. Değişik bir şey okumak isteyenlere çok tavsiye ediyorum.
Profile Image for Jack Tripper.
391 reviews216 followers
December 8, 2022
(Full review 4/29/18)

Freaky. As. Hell. At only 150-some large-print pages, this should probably be read in one sitting for maximum effect, the spell shouldn't be broken (I read nearly all of it last night and finished it just now). The momentum just keeps carrying you forward, making it hard to stop even if you wanted. Brilliant. Full review to come.
A woman named Amanda lies feverish and dying in a hospital bed, and she has no idea how she got there. A young boy is her only companion, whispering in her ear, guiding her to some important moment that she needs to remember. Something to do with worms. Getting inside her. She tells him the story of the past few days, reliving the seconds as if they were happening in the present. She recounts vacationing with her young daughter in a small town, where she (Amanda) becomes friends with a woman next door who has a frightening story about how her little boy is not really her little boy: he looks just like her son, but he's something else entirely.

Wondering how all this leads to Amanda's current dying state is what keeps the reader turning the pages. Not only that, but there's an underlying creepiness throughout, embedded within the pages. There were several times when I was majorly freaked-out even when nothing scary was happening on the surface. There's just an eeriness to the prose itself that slowly grows and grows, which separates this from a typical well-told horror story, and trying to figure out just what the hell was going on made me stay up til 5:30 in the morning to try and finish it (alas, I had to finish the last few pages a few hours later when I woke up, which thankfully didn't ruin the effect).

Highly recommended for fans of literary horror, or for anyone in the mood for a perfectly-paced mystery with ambiguous supernatural goings-on.

4.5 Stars.
Profile Image for La loca de los libros .
282 reviews92 followers
September 30, 2021
En este relato largo o novela corta (su autora es una fiel defensora del cuento y aquí lo demuestra) encontramos el mejor ejemplo de que no hacen faltan muchas páginas para crear una gran historia. Potente, desgarradora y muy perturbadora. Esos son los adjetivos que definen esta pequeña pero intensa obra sin género claramente definido, aunque se podría englobar en el terror con realismo y su punto fantástico, que devorarás sin darte apenas cuenta con un nudo en el estómago.

En Distancia de rescate Samanta nos sumerge en un paisaje bucólico de la pampa Argentina donde predomina el curanderismo. Un paisaje que se torna aterrador y tóxico cuando una amenaza ecológica se cierne sobre sus habitantes.
En forma de relato nos adentraremos en la conversación de dos madres sobre sus respectivos hijos.
Por un lado, Carla le narra en el coche a Amanda lo sucedido en el pasado con su hijo David, un niño realmente inquietante. En este relato conoceremos también a su marido Omar y su pasión por los caballos.
Y por otro lado, tenemos el relato de Amanda y su adorable hija Nina. A la cual siente constantemente en el borde de la llamada distancia de rescate, esa distancia que a veces está tan tirante que nos asfixia.
David en el presente será el que insista a Amanda a recordar lo sucedido, a tirar de ese hilo, a ahondar en los detalles de la historia, a escarbar como gusanos hasta llegar donde empezó todo.
Todas las que hemos experimentado la odisea de la maternidad sentiremos ese desasosiego que tan bien nos sabe transmitir su autora.
Una pluma que te atrapa y no te suelta hasta su sorprendente final.

Hay que fijarse en cada detalle y aún así no podrás evitar quedarte con cara de póquer al llegar al final.
Muchas incógnitas que tendrás que digerir.
Muchas preguntas a las que tendrás que buscar respuestas.
Un estilo que puede que no contente a todos porque su narración despista y hay que estar con los cinco sentidos puestos para no perder detalle.
Me ha dejado mal cuerpo. Esa es mi conclusión final.

¿Dónde están Nina y su madre Amanda? ¿Qué ocurrió en ese pueblo?
Ese horror latente está presente desde la primera página y esa ambigüedad en el relato de Amanda nos despistará en más de una ocasión. 
Todas estas preguntas tienen su respuesta en el interior de esta novela de menos de 130 páginas.

▶Una novela inclasificable para reflexionar sobre los miedos de la maternidad en un entorno asfixiante de desastre ecológico.

🔸"Lo llamo distancia de rescate, así llamo a esa distancia variable que me separa de mi hija y me paso la mitad del día calculándola, aunque siempre arriesgo más de lo que debería."

📚 https://www.facebook.com/LaLocadelosL... 📚
May 29, 2020
Κι όλα τελείωσαν κι ίσως να’ταν το τέρμα μα μπορεί και η αρχή μιας αέναης επανάληψης, μιας μεταδοτικής τοξικότητας που μπορούσε να αποδημήσει και να μοιράσει την αρνητική ενέργεια σε τέρατα και σημεία, αλλά και να μεθύσει απο την αύρα της απολυτρωτικής θετικής προσευχής.

Κι όλα τελειώσαν όταν η τοξική δηλητηρίαση μπήκε στο πράσινο σπίτι, με την καρδιά ενός μικρού αγοριού ετοιμοθάνατου - έμοιαζε αρκετά, φυσικά και μεταφυσικά, με το πράσινο σπίτι που στέγασε το πεπρωμένο του Γιόσα όταν χτίστηκε σε κάποιο χωριό, στην καρδιά της Αμαζονίας.
Μπορεί να ήταν το ίδιο. Μπορεί και όχι. Οι παραισθήσεις, οι ψευδαισθήσεις και οι παρομοιώσεις επιτρέπονται ξεκάθαρα όταν μια μάγισσα βγαίνει απο το παραμύθι και μπαίνει στο κλειστοφοβικό περιβάλλον του Φράντς Κάφκα χωρίς να κρατάει την τόσο μα τόσο απαραίτητα κυρίαρχη χορδή που αυξάνει ή μειώνει την ιερή και εξωκοσμική φρίκη αγαπης που ορίζεται απο την απόσταση ασφαλείας.

Η απόσταση ασφάλειας σε καθηλώνει κυριολεκτικά, είναι μια ανατριχιαστική ιστορία φόβου, πανικού, αγάπης,απόγνωσης και θανάτου.

Ένας μελαγχολικός τρόμος απλώνεται σαν αεράκι που δροσίζει ενώ παράλληλα δηλητηριάζει κάθε φωνή και κάθε βλέμμα.
Κάθε ικανοποίηση ανάγκης, κάθε αναπνοή, κάθε γουλιά, κάθε άγγιγμα, μεταμορφώνεται σε άγριο παραμύθι, σε επίπλαστη σιγουριά, σε εξαίσια ελκυστική παγίδα, σε ένα απολαυστικό αγώνα μεταξύ χρόνου και μνήμης.
Αργεντινή πονάς.
Το χώμα σου αναδύει τοξικά δηλητήρια που παράγουν πληθώρα κερδών και θανάτων.

Παράγουν θαύματα, γεννούν μεταλλαγμένη φύση ανθρώπινης ράτσας και σκορπάνε σπόρους που θα καρποφορήσουν τις μαύρες παπαρούνες των κρυφών καημών και της ματαίωσης, του πυρετού, της αυταπάτης και της πραγματικότητας στην πιο σκληρά ρεαλιστική της μορφολογία.
Σαν το χώμα που ποτίζεται με εξατμισμένο νερό και ζαρώνει και ξεραίνεται ενώ ρουφάει υγρασία απο την ομίχλη της μοίρας και την κατάρα των απονενοημένων νεκρών.

Πρόκειται για ένα αριστουργηματικό μυθιστόρημα, απογείωσης, ταύτισης, απειλής και εισβολής μέσα σε κομιστές χωρίς ταυτότητα, μέσα σε ξενιστές δέσμιους με το σκοτεινό απόκοσμο και ανύπαρκτα αληθινό σύμπαν.

Η απόσταση ασφαλείας, αρχικά ορίστηκε εδώ, ως η μεταβλητή απόσταση που χωρίζει τη μητέρα απο την κόρη με σκοπιμότητα προστασίας και αποτέλεσμα απίστευτης και μοναδικής αγάπης.
Η μητέρα μετράει και υπολογίζει αυτή την απόσταση ξοδεύοντας σχεδόν ολόκληρη τη ζωή της αν και πάντα ρισκάρει περισσότερο απ’ο,τι θα ‘πρεπε.
Μα ποια «πρέπει» και ποιες «συμβουλές διαπαιδαγώγησης» θα φρενάρουν την ιλλιγιώδη ταχύτητα προς την πανάκεια της μητρικής αγκαλιάς.

Τίποτε, ποτέ, κανένας θνητός, θεός ή ημίθεος, γήινος και εξωγήινος δεν θα καταφέρει να σπάσει την χορδή της απόστασης ασφαλείας.

Έχει Συμπαντική ύλη και αντί ύλη μέσα της κι όταν τεντώνεται πολύ ξεφλουδίζει την καρδιά, για να αρχίσει η αιμορραγία που θα σημάνει συναγερμό αισθήσεων και αίσθημα απώλειας μέχρι να μειωθεί η απόσταση και το αίμα να γίνει το βάλσαμο για τις φυγές και τις πληγές του παιδιού.
Ο μόνος που θα το πετύχει αγόγγυστα ίσως, είναι το πιο ενεργητικό μέρος της ζωής μας δηλαδή ο θάνατος.

Υπάρχει μόνο ένας τρόπος εισαγωγής αυτού του βιβλίου, αλλά πραγματοποιείται έξοδος μέσω οποιασδήποτε από τις πολλές διαδρομές που ελευθερώνει παράδοξα και κόντρα σε κάθε γραμμική περιγραφή.
Μια φαντασία για το πώς αγκαλιάζουμε την άγνωστη προοπτική του θανάτου μας; Πιθανώς. Και εσείς, αγαπητέ αναγνώστη, θα βρείτε αναμφίβολα μερικούς άλλους τρόπους για να αντιμετωπίσετε αυτό το άσχημο αιχμηρό αλλά και ονειρικό κομμάτι μαγικού μοιραίου.

Ενώ η ιστορία είναι ονειρική, στα σκοτεινά παραπατάει μες του χρόνου την βόλτα , η αφήγηση είναι διαχωρισμένη και κρυπτική, μυσταγωγική θα έλεγα, αυτό ενισχύει μόνο την ακαταμάχητη και συντριπτική αίσθηση φόβου που ξεκινά στην πρώτη σελίδα και καταλήγει σε ένα συμπέρασμα με μια αμφίβολη ανάλυση ξεχωριστή μα και τόσο ίδια αν είσαι ζωντανός που δεν φοβάται την αλήθεια των φαντασμάτων.

Βρήκα το στυλ λίγο δύσκολο για να το κυριαρχήσω στην αρχή.
Οι δύο φωνές διατυπώνονται σε διαφορετικές γραμματοσειρές και χρειάζεται λίγη ώρα και ιδιαίτερη προσοχή για να καταλάβουμε ποιος μιλάει σε ποιον. Σταμάτησα μετά από μερικά κεφάλαια, όταν είχα μια ιδέα για το τι έκανε η συγγραφέας, και επέστρεψα και άρχισα ξανά.
Και τότε κατανόησα την μεγαλοπρέπεια και την λαμπρότητα αυτής της λατινοαμερικανικής πένας που βρίθει μύθων, μυθευμάτων, ιστορικών και πολιτικών γεγονότων που συνταράσσουν τον κόσμο των απεγνωσμένων πια πολιτισμών, κοσμικών και εξωκοσμικών.

Το παραμύθι είναι παραπλανητικό, δεδομένου ότι μεγάλη σημασία απλώς προτείνεται ή αφήνεται
εξ ολοκλήρου στη φαντασία,
και έτσι ξεκινώντας από μια καλύτερη κατανόηση της δομής της ιστορίας ήταν τόσο ανατριχιαστικά ανταποδοτική ουσιαστικά και μεταφορικά που με βοήθησε να προσανατολιστώ ως αναγνώστρια και να εντάξω τον μικρό αυτό πολύτιμο λίθο στην κατηγορία που του αξίζει περίτρανα.

Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Perry.
631 reviews502 followers
April 26, 2017
Chasing the Dragon on a Horse with No Name*

Updated 4/21/17: Congrats to Ms. Schweblin on Fever Dream being shortlisted yesterday, 4/20/17, for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.

Nearly 3 months out from reading this brief novel, and I remain haunted every so often by visions of a horse's head and of squirming worms.

Perhaps the ominous chevaline cloud over the novel, with certain players exposed to some undescribed toxin (maybe via the grass), is meant to represent the drug heroin given that the terms "horse" and the Spanish"caballo" are two of this deadly drug's most common street names.

Don't misunderstand me. Even if my attempt at a little decryption is correct, it does not make a wit of difference to my comprehension of what transpired. Though I can't help but feel that flying through this short novel was perhaps like "chasing the dragon," so to speak.

I was thoroughly consumed with this especially quick read from start to finish. In her highly original debut, Ms. Schweblin, Buenos Aires-born, Berlin-based author, is most impressive in her setting a miasmal mood, with a sometimes-fragmented conversation between a mother and a neighbor's son under the exigency of apparently imminent death, and in her masterly pacing by infusing the book with a thrumming current of mysterious dread (including, e.g., chimeric worms) and a drumming from around midpoint that rapidly progresses to a furious pace.

I'd say reading this is a worthy experience, particularly if you enjoy chasing dragons or you can pick up a copy at the local library.

*All apologies to the band America for using their 1972 hit to add the Chinese slang phrase for inhaling the vapors from heated morphine or heroin.
Profile Image for Hulyacln.
779 reviews364 followers
June 12, 2022
Küçükken annem, ben sokakta oyun oynamaya çıkmadan önce tembihlerine başlardı. Hep aynı cümlelerden oluşurdu bu ritüel:
‘Hülya seni görebileceğim yerlerde oyna, balkondan baktığımda seni göreceğim.
Seslendiğimde duyacaksın’
Ve bir gün iki sokak aşağıya gittim arkadaşlarımın peşinden, bir dut ağacı vardı ve Tanrım o dutlar çok lezzetliydi! Ne kadar zaman geçirdim bilmiyorum ama artık eve gideyim diye düşünürken annemi gördüm karşımda. Bir ruh gibiydi. Bağırıyordu: ‘çok korktum, çok bağırdım duymadın’
Şimdi düşünüyorum, ben uzaklaşmaktan değil karşımdaki annemi korkutmuş olmaktan dolayı ağlıyordum. Yıllar sonra başka bir şehire gittim okumak için, her gün işe gidiyorum veyahut. Ama bana seslenmek istediğinde telefon açıyor artık annem, o telefonu ertelemiyorum, hemen açıyorum..
Kurtarma Mesafesi çocukluğuma dair bu anıyı canlandırdı.. Büyük bir huzursuzlukla okudum. Taşraya tatile giden Amanda ve kızı Nina’nın yollarının o yeşil evle kesişmesini karnımda ağrıyla okudum. Bitene kadar bırakmadım elimden. Büyük bir uğursuzluğu okurcasına..
Ağızdaki Kuşlar kitaplığımda beklerken; elim önce bu kitabına gitti yazarın. Tabii ki diğer kitabı beklemeyecek artık.
Çok sevdim. (Beni konfor alanımdan çıkaran her kitabı sevmeye meyilliyim sanırım)
Emrah İmre çevirisi, Utku Lomlu kapak tasarımıyla~
Profile Image for Hugh.
1,254 reviews49 followers
July 17, 2018
I was intrigued by many of the reviews I saw of this book after it was shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, but I don't think I am the right person to review it.

The whole thing reads like an extended nightmare, yet for me none of it was quite believable enough for it to affect me, and I suspect this is down to my psychological make-up rather than any fault of the writer or the translator, as dreams are very personal things.

Interesting but not a book I can love...
Profile Image for نبال قندس.
Author 2 books6,813 followers
June 29, 2018
للوهلة الأولى الرواية مرعبة، غريبة وحابسة للأنفاس، لكنك لن تستطيع إفلاتها من بين يديك حتى الصفحة الأخيرة. وبعد الانتهاء منها لن تنتهي هي منك.
انهيت قراءة الرواية الساعة الواحدة بعد منتصف الليل، ولم أتمكن من النوم بعدها، وأنا أفكر في هذا الكابوس المرعب، وكيف أنه حقيقي ويحدث كل يوم في عدة أماكن من هذا العالم.
"الملاحظات مهمة جداً"
آماندا، أم شابة، تحتضر في المستشفى، وإلى جانبها يجلس "دافيد" طفل امرأة أخرى، يحاورها ويحاول معرفة ما الذي أوصلها إلى هنا بينما تحدثه عن ما حدث لها هي وطفلتها "نينا". يحاول الوصول إلى إجابة تُهِمّه بينما تحاول آماندا عبر التذكر الوصول إلى إجابتها الخاصة. تراقب بقلق مسافة الإنقاذ بينها وبين طفلتها "نينا"
"تكمن النقطة الأساسية في تفصيل ما، لا بد لأحدنا أن يكون ملاحظاً"
هذا التفصيل الذي يجعل الواحد منا شخصاً آخر، أين هو؟ ما الذي يحدث بالضبط في هذا الحلم أو الكابوس؟
تمسك الرواية بمخاوفنا: الخوف من فقدان البيت، الخوف من الفقر، الخوف من الموت، ولذلك نحاول البحث عن طرق النجاة حتى لو كانت نتيجتها أن نتحول لأشخاص آخرين، روح جديدة في الجسد القديم. الخوف على الأطفال، حالة القلق الدائمة، مع كل حركة وخطوة يخطوها الطفل. والحساب العبثي لمسافة الإنقاذ اللازمة للقيام بما يلزم.
"يظلّ الابن، يا كارلا، ابناً مدى الحياة"
يجب أن تكون متيقظاً على الدوام، لا يمكنك السهو ولو للحظة واحدة. لحظة واحدة يمكن أن تغيير كل شيء، لحظة واحدة يمكن أن تقلب العالم رأساً على عقب. يمكن لهذا أن يعبر عن كل شيء في حياتنا، ليس أطفالنا فحسب، بل كل ما يحدث في حياتنا. لحظة واحدة كافية لخسارة كل شيء.
"المسألة هي أن العيون كلها لا تكون كافبة في بعض الأحيان، يا آماندا. لا أدري كيف لم أرَه؟ وبسبب أي براز كنت مهتمّة بحصان عاهر بدلاً من الاهتمام بابني."
هذا العالم المرعب الذي يحوّل البشر إلى آخرين، يبقيك يقظاً ومترقباً، لتراقب التفاصيل، وما هو مهم حقاً.
الرواية من الأدب الأرجنتيني للكاتبة الشابة سامنتا شوابلين، وصلت إلى القائمة القصيرة لجائزة "MAN BOOKER"
ترجمة بديعة للمترجم صالح علماني، صادرة عن دار الآداب.
Profile Image for Trudie.
519 reviews551 followers
February 21, 2018
* 2.5 * - which is "it was ok" rather than "I liked it"

Not sure what to make of this book and that seems rather to be the point of it. I will acknowledge it does recreate the feeling of a fevered dream exceptionally well. I don't know if as a reader I particularly like being in this state, even for a book as short as this one. I am going to be obstinately old-fashioned and ruthlessly uncool by saying I find my books more satisfying if things are made slightly clearer. I was anticipating Fever Dream not to make complete sense, but with the trade-off that I would be blown away by the writing or some stunning philosophical insight or find a character that really stands out. Here I feel I got a kind of atomiser spray of environmental weirdness that evaporated at the end and left me a little slumped. I reacted exactly the same way to Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation and John Darnielle's Universal Harvester . In every case like this my reading experience goes the same way. I embrace the book to begin with, respect the author for creating this fog of subtle horror and get excited at the possibilities of where this could be heading. Then with a dawning dread I watch the pages dwindle and find myself fretting about the work that needs to be done in interpreting all this weirdness and anticipate the inevitable petering out of the story.

So obviously, not quite my reading jam but of it's type it's probably pretty good ( I know damming with faint praise ).
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,037 followers
February 12, 2017
Somehow I have already read two novels from Argentina and it's only the 41st day of the year. I kept seeing this one mentioned so I snagged it from the library. The entire novel is written in a conversation between a woman who is told she is on her death bed (it is unclear if this is true) and her friend's son, who appears to be on her bed, interviewing her about the worms.

It is unclear to me what is actually going on. I don't mind some veils and smoke if it goes somewhere but this one really doesn't. I can't figure out if certain characters are insane or if there is something magical/evil/toxic going on.
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