Fever Dream Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samanta SchweblinFever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Published by Riverhead on January 10th 2017
Source: Publisher
Pages: 192
Buy from IndieBound


From the bed in a clinic where she lies dying, Amanda rests beside a boy who is not hers and pushes her to tell a story. In an effort to piece together the events that led to her illness, Amanda reaches into her memory and tells the boy her recollections of a day she spent with his mother.

“It’s the boy who’s talking, murmuring into my ear.

I am the one asking questions.

Worms in the body?

Yes, in the body.


No, another kind of worms.

It’s dark and I can’t see. The sheets are rough, they bunch up under my body. I can’t move, but I’m talking.

It’s the worms. You have to be patient and wait. And while we wait, we have to find the exact moment when the worms came into being.”

In a nod to its perfectly apt title, I devoured Fever Dream in a delirious few hours and turned it over to start again when I was finished. At just 192 pages, Samanta Schweblin’s newly translated debut reads like a single breath, leaving no room to stop turning the pages. Though the structure of the narrative is tricky to parse out at first, with the characters’ narration noted in different fonts, once it becomes clear who is speaking the story takes off and refuses to let go.

It is dreamlike and odd and absolutely cloaked in a sense of dread. While Amanda tells the boy, David, the story of his mother, he pressures her to reach the points he hopes to hear with relentless prodding. It gives the novel a deeper sense of urgency, while also adding to its increasingly weird mood. What is important? Why is Amanda wasting time? What’s with the worms? HURRY UP.

I would read nothing but suspense if this surreal trip was the kind of literary suspense regularly being published. While it’s certainly not for everyone, readers who love the chaotic feeling of not knowing (think The Beautiful Bureaucrat), even in the end, need to run and grab a copy of Fever Dream as soon as possible.

  • Yes! I love that feeling of chaos!! This is going straight on the TBR mountain.

  • I love some literary suspense. You’ve definitely piqued my interest in this one, although I’m still not entirely sure it’s for me…I can handle a certain level of weirdness, but if it’s over the top then I get frustrated. But, TBB was perfect, so that comparison bodes well.

    • It’s an odd one, for sure, but if you’re okay with open ends then I don’t think the weirdness is over the top.

  • Yeah this needs to happen. I was intrigued before, but hearing you describe it, even more so now.

  • Kailana

    This sounds good! I will have to check it out!

  • You make want to read this! I’ve been looking at Fever Dreams, unsure if I’d like it or not. I’m still unsure, but at 192 pages I think it’s worth a try.

  • After reading this review, how can I not add this to my TBR list?! I love suspense novels, and this one sounds perfect!

  • This book sounds so deliciously weird. I have it on hold at the library–can’t wait to get my hands on it! Glad you enjoyed it. That makes me even more excited!

  • You’ve definitely convinced me to try this one!

  • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

    Quick and weird, it’s like it was written just for me. :) Glad you have chimed in, I’m all the more anxious to read it now.

  • I will definitely put this on my TBR list.

  • I don’t think I’m likely to ever describe a book as surreal and mean it in a good way! I’m glad this worked for you though :)

  • What an great cover! And you have me intrigued by the story…
    Nice review!

  • Hmm. You have me curious about Fever Dream. I will check it out, thanks!

  • You had me at The Beautiful Bureaucrat; a perfect solution when I need something short while I’m in between books! Thank you, Shannon!