“A wonderful nightmare of a book: tender and frightening, disturbing but compassionate. Fever Dream is a triumph of Schweblin’s outlandish imagination.”
–Juan Gabriel Vasquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations
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.
In her pulsating debut, Schweblin tells the story of Amanda, a young mother dying in a hospital, who talks to a neighborhood boy, David, as he sits by her bedside. David has Amanda recount the events leading up to her sudden illness in search of, as he says, "the worms" that caused her ailment and the result is a swirling narrative packed with dream logic and bizarre coincidences, where souls shift from sick bodies to healthy hosts and poisonous toxins seep under the skin upon contact with the grass. As Amanda and her daughter, Nina, try to settle in at their vacation home away from the city, they become entangled with Carla, David's mother, who appears at random intervals and spins wild tales of her son. After a frightening encounter with David, Amanda throws Carla and the boy out of her home, yet before long, the trio of women are reunited, and from her future hospital bed, a semilucid Amanda tries to remember how this meeting resulted in her death spiral. Powered by an unreliable narrator is Amanda imagining David by her side? Schweblin guides her reader through a nightmare scenario with amazing skill.