Review: Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream Cover

Synopsis:  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.

Title: Fever Dream
Author: Samanta Schweblin
her: Riverhead Books
Pub Date: 10th January 2017
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9780399184598


“Strange can be quite normal. Strange can just be the phrase ‘That is not important’ as an answer for everything. But if your son never answered you that way before, then the fourth time you ask him why he’s not eating, or if he’s cold, or you send him to bed, and he answers, almost biting off the words as if he were still learning to talk, ‘That is not important’, I swear to you Amanda, your legs start to tremble.”

I received an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Fever Dream is yet another 2017 Man Booker International Prize nominee that I only just got around to reading. And, shamefully, I only picked it up because I needed a quick read before I borrowed a book off a friend.

And, despite my hesitation to start it, I am so glad I picked this little gem up.

This book is magnificently unsettling. Translated from Argentinian, the prose is sparse, but tense AF. The story unfolds through a conversation between a mother and a boy in the hospital. Nothing is ever completely explained and events move in unpredictable ways, from the mundane to the terrific and back again. It’s as if we are in the nightmare with our protagonist, facing each of her fears with her.

There is a suffocating sense of dread throughout the book that never lets up. Instead, you must yield to its unhinged nature and pray you make it out at the other side.

Fever Dream won’t always make sense, and you’ll probably still be confused at the end. But it’s weirdly fascinating and absolutely worth it.

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