Fever Dream

By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (translator),

Book cover of Fever Dream

Book description


'The book I wish I had written' Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women and Animal

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a remote Argentinian hospital. A boy named David sits beside her.

She's not his mother. He's not her child.…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Fever Dream as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a wild, one-sitting read. At first you might not know where you are, but after a few pages, you’re completely hooked.

It’s creepy and visceral about what it means to be a mother when the world is turning more and more toxic. It might be considered an eco-horror book. This story works on your subconscious, leaving you with a sticky, unsettling feeling.

Also, it’s translated from Spanish. The title of the Spanish version is The Rescue Distance.    

In this taut novella set in the Argentinian countryside, Schweblin leans into South American magical realism to spin an eco-horror tale about motherhood and loss.

Her ingenious use of narrative style – the entire novella is framed as an increasingly frantic interview between the main character and a very strange boy who may or may not be dead – means that the tension is high from the start and stays that way throughout.

But what really makes this book is the palpable dread that seeps out of every page: you know something is going very wrong and there’s nothing you…

Not all disasters are big and flashy. Some—most—are quiet, ambiguous, and hard to pin down until well after the fact. Fever Dream is a brilliant, unsettling, deeply claustrophobic story that unfurls this sort of disaster in the subtlest and most terrifying way imaginable. Originally published in 2014 (in Spanish, as Distancia de rescate), Fever Dream has appeared on every list of recommended eco-horror fiction in the last few years, and for absolutely good cause.

From Jess' list on climate disaster.

Originally titled Distancia de Rescate (“The Rescue Distance”), this novel which blends contemporary concerns of environmental catastrophe with the magic of psychics and haunted children is truly a feverish reading experience, one which you will devour in a single sitting and need to restart to understand what was real and what was not.

From Daniel's list on Latin American magical realism.

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