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Fever Dream (2014)

by Samanta Schweblin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2547915,676 (3.71)94
"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"--… (more)
  1. 20
    Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez (banjo123)
    banjo123: Both books made my skin crawl, in a good way. Both deal with environmental issues.
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» See also 94 mentions

English (75)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Strange, disturbing, intense, with a building suspenseful creepiness, this is not so much a horror novel as a warning:

“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.”


Amanda is lying in an emergency clinic, having a conversation with the boy David, who may or may not be part of her fever dream. David is not her child; Nina is her child, from whom she is acutely aware of “the rescue distance,” which she feels like a rope that goes taut when that distance becomes too great. What’s happened to Nina is one source of Amanda’s, and our, increasing alarm.

David encourages Amanda to remember and relate events leading up to her current condition but constantly admonishes her when she lingers over what would seem to be a crucial detail:

“None of this is important. We’re wasting time.”


There is a point that is very important for Amanda to become aware of, and her time is very limited. And lest you think this is a garden variety ghost story or tale of supernatural horror, it’s not. That it successfully induces an atmosphere of horror is part of its genius. ( )
  Charon07 | Jun 2, 2024 |
loved it. interesting use of dialogue and style (half frame story, half interview). one of those books i could easily imagine as an incredible movie. excited to check out more of Samanta's work. originally borrowed from the library, but buying my house a copy so roommates can read. ( )
  lazalot | May 25, 2024 |
I chose this book because the author was one of Granta's "Best Spanish Speaking Writers Under 22" and I intend to read others. From Argentina, this is her first novel although she has published short stories and won prizes. The story of two mothers whose children are poisoned by some unnamed ecological disaster, the tale is dystopian in the extreme. I had to look up the definition of dystopian: "The utopia and its derivative, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. ... Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite: the portrayal of a setting that completely disagrees with the author's ethos."
The story is a fast-paced nightmare which I read in a short evening but couldn't quite finish its disturbing conclusion just before retiring and waited until the next day. The translation is smooth. I had trouble delineating between the two speakers but it didn't seem to matter since they were relating common stories. It brought me back to [b:Never Let Me Go|6334|Never Let Me Go|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1353048590s/6334.jpg|1499998] which was similarly troubling. The author's command of her characters is impressive, her descriptions vivid and rhythm fast. I don't know the author's "ethos" but would be curious to read her stories if I can handle it. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
A quick page turner that transmits an indistinct dread, horror, and anxiety, whose general outline you can make out but not well enough to find a deliverance from. Merry Christmas! ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I borrowed this on audiobook from my library.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this. I love how the story is unwound and how there is an intense sense of dread over the story. You are constantly trying to figure out how the characters got to the present state they end up being in as the story of the past is slowly unwound.

The story follows a young woman named Amanda who is dying in a hospital. She is being questioned by a boy named David about the worms. The story Amanda unwinds is terrifying and engrossing in a strangely ambiguous way.

My only disappointment in this story was how nothing was really explained or wrapped up. I think that was part of the point of the story but I personally prefer a bit more closure to my stories.

I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. I would recommend listening to this on audiobook if you enjoy audiobooks.

My Summary (4/5): Overall I enjoyed this a lot. It is an eerie and suspenseful story with some horrific elements that touches on things like climate change, pollution, and family. The story ends up being fairly ambiguous and doesn't give the reader a lot of closure, but the way it was unwound was fascinating and engrossing in a horrifying way. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to and plan on checking out other stories/books by Schweblin. ( )
  krau0098 | Feb 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Schweblin, Samantaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adolphsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bovaia, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buursma, MiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gareis, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huber, HillaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDowell, MeganTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prøis, SigneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Touya, AuroreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
For the first time in a long while, he looked down and saw his hands. If you have had this experience, you'll know just what I mean.
—Jesse Ball, The Curfew
Dedication
For my sister, Pamela
First words
They're like worms.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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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