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Fever Dream
Cover of Fever Dream
Fever Dream
A Novel
"A wonderful nightmare of a book: tender and frightening, disturbing but compassionate. Fever Dream is a triumph of Schweblin's outlandish imagination."
–Juan Gabriel Vasquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations
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.
"A wonderful nightmare of a book: tender and frightening, disturbing but compassionate. Fever Dream is a triumph of Schweblin's outlandish imagination."
–Juan Gabriel Vasquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations
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.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    In her pulsating debut, Schweblin tells the story of Amanda, a young mother dying in a hospital, who talks to a neighborhood boy, David, as he sits by her bedside. David has Amanda recount the events leading up to her sudden illness—in search of, as he says, “the worms” that caused her ailment—and the result is a swirling narrative packed with dream logic and bizarre coincidences, where souls shift from sick bodies to healthy hosts and poisonous toxins seep under the skin upon contact with the grass. As Amanda and her daughter, Nina, try to settle in at their vacation home away from the city, they become entangled with Carla, David’s mother, who appears at random intervals and spins wild tales of her son. After a frightening encounter with David, Amanda throws Carla and the boy out of her home, yet before long, the trio of women are reunited, and from her future hospital bed, a semilucid Amanda tries to remember how this meeting resulted in her death spiral. Powered by an unreliable narrator—is Amanda imagining David by her side?—Schweblin guides her reader through a nightmare scenario with amazing skill.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from October 15, 2016
    A taut, exquisite page-turner vibrating with existential distress and cumulative dread.Schweblin's English-language debut, translated by the eminently capable McDowell, plays out as a tense, sustained dialogue in an emergency clinic somewhere in the Argentinian countryside between a dying woman named Amanda and her dispassionate interlocutor, David, who, we quickly ascertain, is a child but seems to be neither her child nor any clear relation to her. At David's ever more insistent prompting, Amanda recounts a series of events from the apparently recent past, but as he pushes her to recall whatever trauma has landed her in her terminal state, a struggle for narrative control ensues. Though Amanda gradually gains the power to tell her story in her own way--despite David's frequent protestations that she's dwelling on irrelevant details that won't help her understand her circumstances--the impotence and inchoate dangers that underscore the conversation in the clinic ricochet throughout the larger story being told, of what brought her there and why David is with her. Even with the small freedom to tell the deathbed tale she wants to tell, she moves inexorably in the retelling toward the moment when death became inevitable, just as time, in the clinic, creeps closer to the realization of that death. While the book resides in the realm of the uncanny, its concerns are all too real. Once the top blows off Schweblin's chest of horrors, into which we'd been peeking through a masterfully manipulated crack, what remains is an unsettling and significant dissection of maternal love and fear, of the devastation we've left to the future, and of our inability to escape or control the unseen and unimagined threats all around us. In a literary thriller of the highest order, Schweblin teases out the underlying anxieties of being vulnerable and loving vulnerable creatures and of being an inhabitant of a planet with an increasingly uncertain future.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2016
    Buenos Aires-born and Berlin-based, Schweblin has won multiple awards for her story collections and been published in anthologies and magazines worldwide. Her debut novel--also her first work to be translated into English--relates the story of a community doubly poisoned by toxic waste and invidious relationships.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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