Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin | Book Review 124/2019

Fever Dream is told as part remembrance and part dialogue between a dying woman named Amanda and the ghostly presence of her neighbor’s son, David, who is trying to get her to understand how she got to be lying in a hospital bed, suffering from what feels like worms moving through her body. Some of the details that Amanda shares in her monologues contrast with David’s insistence that those things are not important, as he (or her subconscious mind) tries to focus on the exact moment she was poisoned and what might have been done to alleviate the effect if the environment was different. Amanda’s constant return to the moments that impressed her show both her confused state and the maternal desire to protect her young daughter and keep her close enough to protect and save when we know from flash forwards that she is neither able to protect the child nor herself from what is about to come.

I enjoy an enigmatic tale although I felt like the storytelling got a little delirious towards the end of the novel and not enough details were provided to give a clear enough picture of what happens at the end. However, we do know that the story is supposed to show the detrimental effects of environmental contamination on the community as well as explore the use of alternate treatments when medical technology is not available. That made Fever Dream a bit of a political read but not overwhelmingly so.

Book Details

  • Title: Fever Dream
  • Author: Samanta Schweblin
  • Original Language: Spanish
  • English Translator: Megan McDowell
  • Pages: 192
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
Fever Dream was nominated for the 2017 Booker International Prize and Samanta Schweblin was again nominated for the 2019 Booker International Prize for her story collection A Mouthful of Birds. If you’ve read any of her publications, I’d love to read your impressions in the comments below.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Diana says:

    Great review! I want to re-read this book because I could not get into it when I started reading it a couple of months ago. Normally I like enigmatic books, but I also believe this one needs much patience to get through.


    1. Run Wright says:

      Thanks for the comment, Diana. The writing technique does demand full immersion,I think, because of the back and forth of the timelines. I hope you enjoy it when you get back to it.

      Liked by 1 person

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