NOVEL: Fever Dream
AUTHOR: Samanta Schweblin
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2014
I read Fever Dream one recent morning while on the commuter train to New York City. Surrounded by people on their way to work, sipping coffee, answering emails on their smartphones, or nodding off in harsh fluorescent lighting, I felt thousands of miles away. The story had me transfixed. It was a good thing, too, I think, that I was in a crowded and public space…this is not the sort of book I would want to be reading home alone at night.
It’s a nightmarish story, disturbing, unnerving, confusing, and opaque. A woman is dying in rural hospital clinic in Argentina, speaking with a young boy, recounting a recent trauma. Ecological poison, witchcraft, split souls, dying animals, a toxic, dying town, and a lost daughter all figure in the story…or possibly it’s all a hallucinatory dream, a poisonous brew of maternal anxiety, unreliable narrators, and menace.
Short, compelling, and eerie, Fever Dream is unlike anything else I’ve read. It’s a bit Stephen King, a bit Shirley Jackson, a bit Samuel Beckett, a bit Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and at the same time altogether unique. You just may want to make sure you’re in a well-lit place when you read it.
RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best: 3 1/2 Whistles
HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Cranach / Shutterstock.com
Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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