A Terrifying, but Brilliant Book – Fever Dream

A brilliant book - Fever Dream

After reading The Sense of an Ending, I became more aware of books shortlisted for various awards. When NetGalley gave me an option to request books shortlisted for Man Booker prize, I quickly clicked on a few. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin was one of them. And what a brilliant book choice that was.

A Short Yet Powerful Book

worms, something very much like worms, and the exact moment when they touch your body for the first time. A confusing sentence for a book that raises a lot of questions and leaves a lot to our imagination.

Fever Dream starts with Amanda, a young woman, lying in a hospital bed, David, a young boy, sitting next to her. They aren’t related and yet they are in this situation together.

Through the conversation between David and Amanda, we slowly follow the course of events that led to this precise moment. David prompts Amanda as she tries to remember what landed her dying in a hospital bed.

A Bleak Description of Rural Argentina

Amanda left her husband in the city and rented a holiday home with her daughter Nina. Things get complicated when Carla, a local, tells Amanda about her son’s poisoning. The only way to save the boy was to transmigrate a part of David’s soul into a different body. But the David she ended up with isn’t her son. There’s a series of strange events, that all add to the oppressive atmosphere of the entire novel.

The author’s masterful description of the heat, the landscape empty of livestock and dry land create an eerie feeling and Amanda’s words of something terrible will happen create a sense of urgency, which prevents us from putting this book down.

Brillian Man Booker Nominee

A Child As A Curator

While Amanda’s trying to remember what happened and where Nina is, David is the one that tries to lead her in the right direction. To find that exact event that changed everything. He tells her this is not important or we need to go faster when Amanda seems to recollect the past events.

This brilliant book kept me on my toes. Amanda keeps talking about rescue distance between a mother and a child and as this rescue distance gets shorter, the tension arises and you can feel your toes curling in anticipation.

There are plenty of metaphors in the book, so if you enjoy reading deeper, this is the book for you. Fear is also omnipresent and permeates everything, fear of separation, fear of something bad happening to your children and more. The title Fever Dream also accurately describes the way reading this book feels. It’s exactly as if you were in a dream. You know, the feeling of the thing you’re looking for being within your grasp, but you can’t get to it.

It’s really a masterfully written book and even though this isn’t the type I usually read, I finished it within two days.

Does Amanda find Nina in the end? What happened to Carla and David? I’ll let you discover that and when you do, let me know too.

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