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Publisher's Summary

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 new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.

©2017 Samanta Schweblin (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A wonderful nightmare of a book: tender and frightening, disturbing but compassionate. Fever Dream is a triumph of Schweblin's outlandish imagination." (Juan Gábriel Vasquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing book

I think I enjoyed the book for all the reasons that other reviewers didn’t. It resists resolution, it perturbs and frustrates, and allows the reader to bask in uncertainty even as it articulates a very clear message about environmental disasters and their very particular and personal impacts. The translation is very good, I’ve read the book in both Spanish and English and the narrator does a great job of conveying the narrative.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ghastly tale, brilliantly told.

Oh my, did I love this. Fever Dream is a work in translation—by an astoundingly inventive Argentinian writer—and while I prefer its original title (Distancia de Rescate, or “rescue distance”), a fever dream is exactly what it is: delirious, disorienting, dire. The entire novel is a conversation between two people—a woman, Amanda, who is ill in a clinic bed, and an unsettling young boy, David, who urgently whispers in her ear, demanding she recount the events that led her here so they can find the precise moment when things went wrong. As Amanda talks, a series of vivid images—a beautiful woman in a gold bikini, a dead bird in a stream, a three-legged dog—unfold along with a growing sense of horror, while David ruthlessly judges which details are important and which are not. It’s a fascinating concept, expanding the very idea of what a novel can be, and while I also bought the paper version it worked exceptionally well for me in audio. Unlike other reviewers I had no trouble following the voices of the different characters (I loved the throaty elegance of Carla, David’s mother; the children’s voices are deliciously creepy), and hearing them all in my ear enhanced the feeling of being utterly surrounded by dread. Part ticking time bomb, part excavation of the horrors of parenthood (I’m no helicopter mom, but Amanda’s obsession with calculating “rescue distance”—the constantly shifting space separating her and her daughter, which narrows in unfamiliar or dangerous situations—resonated with me instantly), this is an audiobook to consume in one sitting. It sinks its hooks in early on; good luck shaking it loose.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

If you need resolution you won't find it.

This book defys description, I hate a book where when it is over everyone who reads it will have a different idea about what happened. This book I guess was not for me, but I was interested in the fact that it was translated and the author is Argentinian. I suppose there could be cultural differences as to why I don't understand it. I'm not really a fan of magical realism, but I do like stretching my mind by reading books written in other countries in other languages.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Rather disappointing!

I found this book rather disappointing and dissatisfying, primarily because the reviews I’d read led me to believe it would be a well executed work of literary fiction, but instead it falls in the category of puerile thriller if such a category existed. In addition, calling it a novel feels like a stretch. It’s more of a long short story than a novel and maybe because of this both the characters and the story felt rather under-developed. The positives are that the premise of the story was interesting, there were some engaging ideas being played with and the narrative style had potential. Ultimately though these three positives remained underdeveloped and the book ended with a somewhat predictable and somewhat cheap ‘twist’ that made me just want to ask for my book credit back. Which I did!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Surprised'

Well written, interestingly developed. Not the genre I thought it was, and not one I enjoy very much.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I have no idea what this was about

This book received an excellent review on npr but unfortunately I missed something. it's a little hard to follow and I didn't love the narrator.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Poorly Translated and Narrator Made it Confusing

The book synopsis drew me in. The translation was odd and made some passages jagged...and Nina's stuffed mole?

The strange en medius res start to the story sounds Julio Cortozar...but the plot goes nowhere. There is no aha moment that makes it fall into place...it just sizzles out. It was narrated by an androgynous voice that attempted to narrate two parts, David and Amanda...but it was difficult to distinguish between the two. I felt as though I was the one with a fever dream.

Very disappointed.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Wtf did I just listen to?

I didn't understand or like this story. The narrator was annoying. Don't waste your money.

If anyone would like to explain this to me, I would welcome it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful