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Fever Dream

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3.7  ·  Rating details ·  6,887 Ratings  ·  1,405 Reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Riverhead Books (first published 2014)
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Community Reviews

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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
...more
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
...more
Maxwell
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
WHoa. This was trippy. And I loved it.
Hannah
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
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
...more
Shelby
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.
Perry
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.


REVIEW:
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
...more
Adina
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booker, latin
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
...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
...more
Linda
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, novella
Seriously.......

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
...more
Jack Tripper
(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.
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A woman named Amanda lies feverish and dying in a hospital bed, and she has no idea how she got there.
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Blair
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 very sh ...more
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
...more
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
...more
·Karen·
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 impo
...more
Shannon
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites
From the bed in a clinic where she lies dying, Amanda rests beside a boy who is not hers and pushes her to tell a story. In an effort to piece together the events that led to her illness, Amanda reaches into her memory and tells the boy her recollections of a day she spent with his mother.

In a nod to its perfectly apt title, I devoured Fever Dream in a delirious few hours and turned it over to start again when I was finished. At just 192 pages, Samanta Schweblin’s newly translated debut reads li
...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 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 – an
...more
Trudie
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
* 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
...more
Amanda
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh this book is so full of crazy! I loved it. It is very aptly titled as the narrator (Amanda) is in some sort of hallucination/fever episode. She is in the hospital (I think) talking to David, who is a child but not her child, about David's mother and Amanda's daughter, who I think is missing. There is some poisoning going on and some dead animals and some white spots. If you like weird somewhat experimental books where you don't always know what's going on and you don't really understand the e ...more
Joce (squibblesreads)
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is unlike any other I've read, and I'm not talking like AN UNEXPECTED PLOT TWIST with totally predictable structure. Nah. This is weeeeeirdy weirdo, but so damn cool. I feel like every time I re read this, I'll have a totally different experience and perception. I don't think I can give it 5 stars because I'm not quite sure I figured out the author's intention with a good deal of the symbolism but lordy that was great.
Tammie
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-lit
Not for me.
Trish
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.

Ameri
...more
Jessica Sullivan
Fans of Jesse Ball and Helen Phillips won't want to miss this latest piece of surreal literature that blends such themes as eco-horror and the bizarre terror of motherhood. Be warned, though: only read this if you're okay with not knowing what the hell you just read.

If you do choose to read this, I recommend setting aside a couple hours to knock it out in one sitting as I did early this morning. It's short and quick enough that that's not an unreasonable suggestion. Let yourself get lost in it a
...more
Vanessa
This was a crazy read, a book that you have to sit down and read in one go to get the full experience of. The title Fever Dream is incredibly apt, in the way that as a reader I debated whether what I was reading was real or imaginary, or whether it was a delirium of the mind. Schweblin's prose is immediate and bizarre, and made me feel as though when I finished it like I was emerging from a dark room with no real idea of what I'd just experienced. It's definitely a book that I can see myself com ...more
Rachel León
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, read-in-2017
(3.5 stars, rounded up)

This short little novel is strange and not going to appeal to everyone, but I really enjoyed it. It's the kind of story that couldn't be sustained in 400 pages, but the author gives us just enough. I loved how words aren't wasted. It's sharp and weird and I'm glad I read it.
David Yoon
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
...more
Malia
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.

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Angela M
Jan 13, 2017 marked it as abandoned-not-for-me
Too odd for me . Has great reviews but going on my abandoned shelf.
Laura
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
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
...more
Benji
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Read this in one breathless sitting and you should do the same - right now. Go gulp down this utterly unsettling, skin-scratching, compulsive book. I haven't read any of the other Man Booker International shortlistees yet - so this might be unfair (sorry other authors) - but I'd go out on a limb and say this might just go win. Samanta Schweblin is that good.

Fever Dream has more than a whiff of Stephen King about it. That kind of dark, twisted narrative that gets under your skin and has you askin
...more
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The Mookse and th...: 2017 MBI Shortlist: Fever Dream 16 116 Oct 05, 2017 10:22PM  
Carla's motives 1 26 Jul 03, 2017 06:52AM  
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Samanta Schweblin (Buenos Aires, 1978) es una escritora argentina, egresada de la carrera de Imagen y Sonido de la UBA.
Su libro de cuentos El núcleo del disturbio (2002) ganó el primer premio del Fondo Nacional de las Artes 2001, y su cuento “Hacia la alegre civilización de la capital”, el primer premio en el Concurso Nacional Haroldo Conti. Participó en las antologías publicadas por la Editorial
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More about Samanta Schweblin

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“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.” 5 likes
“(...) 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.” 2 likes
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