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Little Eyes

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  5,656 ratings  ·  1,036 reviews
A spine-tingling portrait of our obsession with technology, from the Man Booker International-shortlisted literary star

They look harmless enough: you could even call them cute. Not quite a phone, not quite a toy, not quite a robot, these are Kentukis. And it doesn’t take long for these apparently innocent devices to fall prey to our dark obsession with technology.

Little Ey
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 16th 2020 by Oneworld (first published October 1st 2018)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  5,656 ratings  ·  1,036 reviews


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Meike
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read, argentina
Now Longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020
Split in short chapters set in different parts of the world, "Little Eyes" is a techno dystopia just one step away from our current world of smart devices that are potentially spying on us (like Alexa and other electronic gadgets that record and process language and images). In Schweblin's text, the new craze is called kentukis, small electronic animals that look cute and are equipped with a camera and a long-distance control option so they
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s.penkevich
[F]or the first time she wondered, with a fear that threatened to break her, whether she was standing on a world that it was ever possible to escape.

Dr. Sherry Turkle has an anecdote she likes to tell about the moment she went from advocating for technology as an advancement for socialization to distrusting its benefits. Turkle escorted her class to a local long-term care facility where robotic pets that could react to human emotions were assigned to the elderly residents to provide company. As
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lark benobi
I was crushed by this story. Every reasonably nice person in the story--every person who has a shred of faith in humanity--gets humiliated, disillusioned, abused, or put in danger, and in the most repulsive way possible.

I love books that don't hold back, but with a caveat: I need these books to hold out a thread of hope, somewhere in the story, that people are worth caring about. Otherwise what's the point? Why read? Why anything?

And now inside my head I'm arguing with myself and thinking of t
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Paul Fulcher
I was a huge fan of Fever Dream , translated by Megan McDowell from Samanta Schweblin's original, which was my favourite book on the 2017 International Booker longlist. And I also appreciated the short-story collection A Mouthful of Birds from the same duo, from the 2019 International Booker.

But to me the strength of these books was the unique sense of unease they created by their skillful navigation of what literary critic Todorov calls the fantastic - the narrow middle ground between a rationa
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Jennifer
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5

Instead of the dark, hazy atmosphere of Schweblin’s "Mouthful of Birds" and "Fever Dream," her newest work engulfs the reader in the bright white of technology and its packaging. In alternating, episodic threads bound by a new social phenomenon, Schweblin explores a world reminiscent of Big Brother’s; but this time we enter knowingly into a dynamic where we choose to be either watched or watching.

I preferred the worlds of her former works, and was therefore disappointed in this one, but she s
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Eric Anderson
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
While there have been many think pieces about the potential joys, pitfalls and dangers of our social media age, I haven’t read much fiction which imaginatively and realistically tackles these issues. “Little Eyes” presents a society where mechanical stuffed animals called “kentukis” become a new craze for people around the world – from an idle boy in Antigua to a pensive artist’s wife in Oaxaco to a lonely old woman in Lima. The cute mechanized animals are fitted with a camera which links to an ...more
Doug
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is now Schweblin's third book to be translated into English, and most of my GR chums have deemed it the poorest of the three ... so naturally, I have to be the contrarian and say I enjoyed it much more than her previous efforts (both of which got a 3.5 rating from me, the first rounded down, the second rounded up). The book centers around kentuckis, a sort of AI amalgamation, or unholy offspring, of Alexa/Siri and the Tamagotchi craze of a few years back - animate animal-like pets that 'kee ...more
Roman Clodia
There's a bold concept at the heart of this book: kentukis are furry surveillance devices that randomly connect the owner with someone somewhere who controls the device, sees through its eyes, and hears what the owner says, though it can't speak back (why not?). It's a shame, then, that such a suggestive scenario doesn't go beyond the easily expected. Like internet devices everywhere, kentukis allow some people to make connections, enable fraud, bullying and sexploitation - all things we're fami ...more
Dave
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are done feeding your pet rock and you’ve had it with your nanny cam, then it’s time to try the newest craze, the Kentuki! Better get one fast before they are all yanked from the shelves! They’re going fast! More fun than beanie babies!
The Kentuki is a toy with a mind of its own and you can get them in just about any animal configuration. Want a bunny 🐰? Want a 🐼 panda? Want a llama 🦙?

How do they work, you ask. Well, glad you asked. They are basically stuffed animals with wheels and eye
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Nancy Oakes
full post here with absolutely no spoilers:
https://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/202...

Definitely an outside-of-the-box read and just my style.

At the center of everything here is a cuddly, sweet-looking and rather expensive device called a kentuki. It comes in different forms, including pandas, crows, bunnies and dragons, looking "similar to a football with one end sliced off," enabling it to "stand upright", with cameras located behind the eyes. It moves about on wheels, and once the device is ch
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Neil
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
There is an interesting, if not new, idea at work in Little Eyes and it picks up on a topic that is often in the news. We are all used to seeing scary news articles about how the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow people to spy on us in our homes.

Enter the kentuki. With kentukis, Schweblin develops the idea of this unwanted surveillance. A kentuki is a small robot that can be bought and installed in a person’s home. Installation involves switching it on and waiting. And here’s the twist. What y
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Mary
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, dystopia, fiction
Started out well but didn’t really go anywhere and there were too many changing perspectives for a book this short. It could’ve been the perfect thing to read during a time when humanity has shown itself, once again, to be vapid and destructive, but alas, there was just something missing for me.
Alex
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twenty Books of Summer Challenge

Book 1

Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin

⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Schweblin is best known for her horrifying short novel Fever Dream that surprisingly won the Tournament of Books a few years ago. She now follows up that dark and hallucinatory tale with a much more accessible novel that manages to be less weird than Fever Dreams despite a rather odd subject matter.

The story follows several people around the world who have bought or received the latest technological toy, a ketuki (thin
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Michelle
This is the third novel I have read by Samanta Schweblin. My first, Fever Dream, was read during the Tournament of Books. I remember reading it late one night. I couldn't put it down. It was so real and surreal at the same time. I walked away from that experience with goosebumps. Just thinking about it now still does something to me. Next up was Mouthful of Birds that I read for the 52 Weeks of Women of Color Challenge. Again Schweblin hit that sweet spot for me with a haunting short story colle ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Thank you @oneworldpublications for gifting me Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin and officially kickstarting my Schweblin obsession. This one isn’t out until April in the UK but you’re gonna want to put it in your calendar! I need more of Schweblin’s crazy imagination and will definitely be reading her short story collections and other novel!
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Little Eyes is a sci fi novel told almost in little vignettes as the ‘kentuki’ phenomenon sweeps the world. What are kentuki, I hear you ask? Well, think Fu
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ns510
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
“And then he had a realization: he didn’t want to keep watching strangers eat and snore”

When I saw that Samanta Schweblin had another book coming out, again translated by Megan McDowell, my excitement levels spiked. Dream team! 😍 Loved Mouthful of Birds and while I’m still not convinced I knew exactly what happened in Fever Dream, it has stayed with me. So I’m very grateful to @oneworldpublications for sending this one over - thank you! 💞

I started this at a time of peak pandemic distractibility
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Sidharth Vardhan
Kentukis are toys - toys that look like animal toys except with a camera fitted in them. This camera automatically connects to a random person from elsewhere in the world who has brought a 'connection'. No one knows who they will connect to, or where that person must love or if it is a child, boy or girl. They don't know how long a connection will last. And if the kentuki is not charged, it will be disconnected when its power runs out. Kentukis don't have a direct way to communicate except in sc ...more
jeremy
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
the third of samanta schweblin's books rendered into english, little eyes (kentukis) follows fever dream, a dark, dazzling debut, and mouthful of birds, a somewhat uneven collection of 20 short stories. in her new one, the argentine writer envisions an entirely plausible techno-fad/craze with disturbing ramifications for privacy, connection, interpersonal relationships, etc.

disappointingly, however, schweblin's tale all but skims the surface — like a tepid black mirror episode — free of the ten
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Maria Hill AKA MH Books
There is a new technology called a kentuki. Physically it is little more than a furry phone with wheels but each kentuki has a personality and life of its own.

This novel explores; how human relationships can develop using new technologies, the societal impacts, benefits, and problems when a new technology overwhelms a market and ultimately how we behave to other animals and each other.

It will have you believing this technology actually exists because if it did this is exactly what would have h
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Blair
Feb 23, 2020 marked it as dnf-arcs  ·  review of another edition
I think this might be my last go at Schweblin's fiction. I liked Fever Dream, couldn't finish Mouthful of Birds (I still remember one of the stories from it as being among the worst I've ever read in a published collection), and this... The writing is miles away from Fever Dream, more suited to a cheap thriller churned out to capitalise on the popularity of Black Mirror; the premise is ludicrous, and the story is apparently uninterested in explaining it. Categorically not for me.

Review copy via
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scar
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
i'm so torn. it wasn't a bad book, i just feel like personally it didn't bring anything valuable to my life. the ideas were there, sure, but all those conclusions were half-baked and unsatisfying. tech horror can be cool, but this story in particular didn't even seem like horror to me. it was a little sinister, sure, but not exactly scary.

so, there were a few characters and a bunch of different storylines. i liked that the cast was so international, it made things a little interesting, however t
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Paul
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stars 1-3: Ms. Schweblin's idea, which is that a remote-controlled stuffed animal, complete with webcam, would become a global craze. It's both something I find entirely credible and entirely idiotic, a phenomenon I'd hear about on National Public Radio features and wonder "what kind of idiot falls for that crap?"

Star 4: Ms. Scweblin envisions exactly what kind of person would fall for that crap and makes them sympathetic on both sides of the relationship: the person controlling the "kentuki" (h
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JimZ
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a hard book to follow. I know upon finishing it despite taking 5 pages of notes that I don’t fully get it. Perhaps that failure rests on me…perhaps if I read it a second time I would get it. But I don’t want to —it’s not compelling enough (or I don’t have the motivation to read it a second time). When I saw “The Usual Suspects” I liked that movie so much that although I did not get all aspects of it, I wanted to see the movie again and again so that I would (who really was Keyser Soze?) ...more
Amyn
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Speechless.

Lindsay Loson
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
"What was it she'd been waiting for, so many days and weeks just sitting around on the double bed?...And the kentukis...That was what most infuriated her. What was the whole stupid idea of the kentukis about? What were all those people doing rolling around on other people's floors, watching how the other half of humanity brushed their teeth? Why didn't anyone collude with kentukis to hatch truly brutal plots?...Why were the stories about kentukis so small, so minutely intimate, stingy, and p
...more
Jill
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are four main stories here and I think 11 shorter ones, all told in a jumble of short chapters organized by location. I think I liked the shortest stories the best, but they’re all good. I was a little disappointed that none of the individual stories ever coalesce (and I think the format suggests this will happen) but the only link between them is the presence of the kentuckis.

The kentuckis as a concept is interesting and realistic; it feels like a product that could easily be on retail sh
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Rebecca Alcazaze
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I actually bought this because I loved the shiny, gorgeous cover and the novelty of being in a book shop again post lockdown was just too much for me, so it’s a relief I really liked it.

Schweblin crafts a technological dystopia that could happen in real life next week! In our age of pointless tech when boundaries around voyeurism and surveillance dissolve daily, Schweblin’s little eyed bots are too realistic to not be utterly chilling.

In the world of ‘Little Eyes’ a new gimmick tech ‘toy’ is al
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Shelley
May 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Stopping on page 116.

Though I wasn't a huge fan of Samantha Schweblin's Fever Dream, this book's premise felt too good to pass up. I am very sorry, now, that I purchased the hardcover edition.

I'm interested in how technology exploits and warps our need to connect deeply with others. That theme is here, but the execution is crass, tedious, and a bit juvenile. Even at the halfway point, I felt no respect for the writing and no attachment to the characters.

Put through a sieve, the contents of Littl
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Mridula Gupta
Technology has invaded our space and minds. With each passing day, we are introduced to life-changing technology that makes a lot of everyday activities easier but also poses a threat to our not-so-well guarded private lives. Through 'Kentukis', stuffed animals with a camera for eyes and connected to am anonymous global server, Schweblin introduced us to a new global dystopian world where people would do anything to avoid being lonely, to the point of reaching out to strangers with their secrets ...more
Marie-Therese
A quick, addictive, vividly imagined read that also turns out to be a surprisingly deep, thought-provoking delve into the ethical issues we all face when we interact with each other via social media and other remote technology.

Further thoughts to follow later.
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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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