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Fever Dream

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  10,156 ratings  ·  1,950 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 wo
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Riverhead Books (first published October 2nd 2014)
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Eric Rampson
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,156 ratings  ·  1,950 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
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
WHoa. This was trippy. And I loved it.
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
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
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.
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
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
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Distancia de rescate" es una novela inquietante que te aplastará en el sillón del que no podrás levantarte hasta terminar de leer. No te preocupes, es cortita.

Una narración sobre una obsesión y una culpa en un contexto de desastre ecológico. El cuidado, la vigilancia del hijo, su seguridad, se transforma en una obsesión malsana para una madre que asiste al relato ponzoñoso, lleno de remordimientos y atávicas supersticiones de otra madre que por una vez no respetó la justa (?) distancia de resc
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
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, novella

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
(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.
نبال قندس
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2018
للوهلة الأولى الرواية مرعبة، غريبة وحابسة للأنفاس، لكنك لن تستطيع إفلاتها من بين يديك حتى الصفحة الأخيرة. وبعد الانتهاء منها لن تنتهي هي منك.
انهيت قراءة الرواية الساعة الواحدة بعد منتصف الليل، ولم أتمكن من النوم بعدها، وأنا أفكر في هذا الكابوس المرعب، وكيف أنه حقيقي ويحدث كل يوم في عدة أماكن من هذا العالم.
"الملاحظات مهمة جداً"
آماندا، أم شابة، تحتضر في المستشفى، وإلى جانبها يجلس "دافيد" طفل امرأة أخرى، يحاورها ويحاول معرفة ما الذي أوصلها إلى هنا بينما تحدثه عن ما حدث لها هي وطفلتها "نينا". يحاول
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
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...
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 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
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
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
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.

Fuchsia  Groan
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terror-gótica
En una entrevista sobre los cuentos de Pájaros en la boca, Schweblin dijo: Lo que creo es que si bien la literatura que intento hacer se acerca por momentos al fantástico, para mí el verosímil es fundamental. Me importa mucho partir de una historia casi totalmente realista, pero que lo que suceda en el medio pueda ser un poco sobrenatural. La idea es que eso se produzca por un corrimiento muy pequeño de la realidad, como un detalle. El resultado es monstruoso, pero en realidad la anomalía es mín ...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
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
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-lit
Not for me.
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.
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
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
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
Franco  Santos
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No sé bien qué decir en estos momentos. Es una historia asfixiante, que no solo me inquietó a lo largo de su lectura, sino que aún mis pensamientos se están haciendo un festín en mi cerebro con las dudas que se encuentran por el camino.
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
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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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“(...) 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.” 9 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.” 6 likes
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