"Samanta Schweblin’s electric story reads like aFever Dream." —Vanity Fair
Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize!
Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream...
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.
Samanta Schweblin was chosen as one of the 22 best writers in Spanish under the age of 35 by Granta. She is the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and been translated into 20 languages. Fever Dream is her first novel and is longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin.
Megan McDowell has translated books by many contemporary South American and Spanish authors, and her translations have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Paris Review, McSweeney's, Words Without Borders, and Vice, among other publications. She lives in Chile.
Read an Excerpt
They’re like worms.
What kind of worms?
Like worms, all over.
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 come into being.
Because it’s important, it’s very important for us all.
I try to nod, but my body doesn’t respond.
What else is happening in the yard outside the house? Am I in the yard?
No, you’re not, but Carla, your mother, is. I met her a few days ago, when we first got to the vacation house.
What is Carla doing?
She finishes her coffee and leaves the mug in the grass, next to her lounge chair.
She gets up and walks away. She’s forgetting her sandals, which are a few feet away on the pool steps, but I don’t say anything.
Because I want to wait and see what she does.
And what does she do?
She slings her purse over her shoulder and walks toward the car in her gold bikini. There’s something like mutual fascination between us, and also at times, brief moments of repulsion; I can feel them in very specific situations. Are you sure these kinds of comments are necessary? Do we have time for this?
Your observations are very important. Why are you in the yard?
Because we’ve just gotten back from the lake, and your mother doesn’t want to come into my house.
She wants to save you any trouble.
What kind of trouble? I have to go inside anyway, first for some iced tea with lemon, then for the sunscreen. That doesn’t seem like she’s saving me any trouble.
Why did you go to the lake?
She wanted me to teach her how to drive, she said she’d always wanted to learn. But once we were at the lake, neither of us had the patience for it.
What is she doing now, in the yard?
She opens the door of my car, gets into the driver’sseat, and digs around in her purse for a while. I swing my legs down off the lounge chair and wait. It’s so hot. Then Carla gets tired of rummaging around, and she grips the steering wheel with both hands. She stays like that for a moment, looking toward the gate, or maybe toward her own house, far beyond the gate.
What else? Why are you quiet?
It’s just, I’m stuck. I can see the story perfectly, but sometimes it’s hard to move forward. Is it becauseof the nurses’ injections?
But I’m going to die in a few hours. That’s going tohappen, isn’t it? It’s strange how calm I am. Because even though you haven’t told me, I know. And still, it’s an impossible thing to tell yourself. None of this is important. We’re wasting time.
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