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Fever Dream

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  21,673 ratings  ·  3,754 reviews
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 w
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Riverhead Books (first published October 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  21,673 ratings  ·  3,754 reviews

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lark benobi
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
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
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 ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booker, argentina
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 be
Diane S ☔
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 import
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translated
WHoa. This was trippy. And I loved it.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc
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
Jim Fonseca
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 co ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 st
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
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. ...more
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 ver ...more
Peter Boyle
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 he
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
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.

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Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella, fiction, horror

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
Jack Tripper
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, horror
(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.
Mark Porton
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 gi
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...
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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 do
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: other-awards, horror
* 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 D
Emily B
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Dannii Elle
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Samanta Schweblin , and the publisher, Riverhead Books, for this opportunity.

The synopsis promised this to be "a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale." It did not lie.

This is the narrative between two individuals. One is recounting all that has led to her current prostrate predicament, as she lies in a hospital bed. The other is the child who sits besi
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2017
Clear your diary before picking this one up.
I defy anyone to lay it down once past the first five pages. And if you're like me, curious to understand precisely how the evil spell works, then the last page will be the signal to turn back and start again.

It's because sooner or later something terrible will happen. My grandmother used to tell my mother that, all through her childhood, and my mother would tell me, throughout mine. And now I have to take care of Nina.
But you always miss the imp
Dream is the right word for what we think we observe in this novel. Something poisonous is going on involving two mothers, their children, and pollutants that have entered the soil and water in a countryside that should nourish farmers, ranchers, and vacationers. The cycle of life has been profoundly disrupted and neither residents nor visitors can or will speak of the horror in the vacation wonderland. It looks as though some kind of paranormal witchery is being considered a kind of cure.

Apr 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-book, e-books
I tried to enjoy this but honestly the writing and story telling is way to "out-there" for me to enjoy. And while i would give it a higher rating because apparently people love the strangeness of this i personally don't get it?

Now before anyone says i just don't "get" the story, i don't understand what it is about.
I understand its a woman telling a little boy a story -keeps getting interrupted by him which completely throw me out of it when i was finally feeling i was understanding a bit of wha
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short novel scared the b’jesus out of me. It was very cleverly written. A boy, David, is interrogating a woman (Amanda, Nina's mom) in an emergency clinic. His voice (his sentences) are in italics and the woman’s (Amanada) is in plain font. And he wants her to recall something crucial…whatever it is I think it will help him out of some terrible mess. I was gripped by the very first sentence of the book. How rare is that for that to happen? Rare for me…I think it might be the first time. Oth ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you like to read a short novel and think "wtf did I just read?" this is a great one to pick up. I let myself sit on this for a few days before reviewing and I haven't been able to make any more sense of it. I went into Fever Dream only really knowing it was a horror. That was the wrong reason to pick it up because I didn't get strong horror vibes. The story didn't scare me at all. What is scary is the (view spoiler) ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sidharth by: Adina's review
The harmful effects of pesticides – a theme that might not be obvious to an urban reader of the book (the characters themselves seemed to not know about them) is the unnamed curse of the town. However, as with the treatment of psychopath theme in ‘Room’, the much louder theme just serves as a background for the theme of how strong a mother’s love is. You know how homo-sapiens, especially females, keep on sentimentalizing over their parental investment and all that.

Now comes the best part though
Paul Fulcher
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Each thing she tells you is going to be worse.

Book 5 from the MBI shortlist - and the first that I can see as a very strong contender to take the overall crown. I need to re-read and reflect on this when it makes the shortlist, but for its immediate effect, it is a rare 5 stars from me. Powerful and unsettling doesn't do this justice - I'm glad I read it in the morning rather than before I went to sleep.

The story is ostensibly of Amanda, on holiday with her young daughter Nina in the countrysid

You can read this in one sitting. It’s totally bonkers but compelling. Yes the word bonkers and compelling can connect!

It’s creepy. It’s tense. It’s a quality mystery.

......somebody is trapped in a hospital bed.........

It was all getting to me.........
It fell flat.

I’ve given it 3* because of the initial reactions it gave me. Shame about the ending.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Translated by Megan McDowell, this Argentinian novella is a creepy head-scratcher. It’s the worms. We have to find the exact moment the worms come into being, or at least that’s what the unsettlingly articulate child David believes as he whispers in the hospitalized Amanda’s ear. How’s that for an eerie setup?

From there several narratives unfold, from Amanda meeting David’s mother Carla only a few days prior, to Carla’s story about David nearly dying and the decision she made that changed her s
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
21st Century Lite...: 11/20 Fever Dream, General Discussion 9 58 Dec 08, 2020 01:25AM  
Tournament of Books: Fever Dream 25 174 Nov 21, 2020 08:35AM  
Is this a stretch? 1 10 Nov 16, 2020 06:34PM  
Play Book Tag: Fever Dream - Samantha Schweblin, 5 Stars 3 15 Oct 12, 2019 04:31AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Woman waits by the bed of a coma patient. Possible Spoiler ahead. [s] 14 257 Aug 27, 2019 09:48AM  
Diversity in All ...: Fever Dream (September 2018) 11 49 Sep 26, 2018 08:29PM  

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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 Be ...more

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For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
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“(...) A veces, me asusta pensar que los problemas de todos los días puedan ser para mí un poco más terribles que para el resto de la gente.” 18 likes
“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.” 8 likes
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