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Book Review: Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell

Strange can be quite normal. Strange can just be the phrase ‘That is not important’ as an answer for everything.

#NadirasPointOfReview: Fever Dream by Samanta SchweblinMegan McDowell

The story has a very captivating start – a woman named Amanda is lying in a hospital bed – isn’t able to see anything in the pitch black darkness. A little boy called David, sits beside her and talks to her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Dialogs between them both, is what makes up the whole story. There are many flashbacks and he talks her through her whole ordeal of how she landed up there. There’s a sense of urgency as the little boy keeps prodding her to stick to what is “important” in her story so she can quickly go over it all and understand what she needs to understand. Is it all a dream or is it all real? Is it spirit-body migration, is it poisoning that is causing this fever dream? The novel ends with Amanda pleading to David, asking him what the important thing in the story is, but he never reveals the answer to her.

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The story is strange! The ending is baffling! None of it makes any sense. If it were not for the many google searches and an urgent meeting with fellow bookstagrammers, I probably wouldn’t have understood an iota of what happened! LOL. Every single thing is up for discussion and requires expert explanations! We really wanted to email the author and bombard her with questions!

The book is majorly metaphorical and touches upon some serious topics such as environmental poisoning and parenting. The biggest message is that of the relation between a mother and her child and the concept of Rescue Distance. When does a mother pull her reins on a child and when should she put a stop to it and let the child just be.

Interesting Fact: This novel by an Argentinian author Samanta, was written in Spanish and translated into English by Megan. The book was originally titled as Distanca de Rescate (meaning The Rescue Distance). Translating the title to Fever Dream had a huge negative impact IMO. This becomes obvious as the story progresses, as it misleads the reader into wondering if whatever is happening in the story is just a dream or is it real.

Pros: Infectious and Hallucinatory storytelling. Eerie mind-bender. Feel of horror, mystery and curiosity – all in 150 pages!

Cons: Open ending. No explanations. Too metaphorical. If you are like me – too dumb to interpret symbolism and realism – then stay away from this book. Misleading book title.

Bottom Line: The above quote and the repeating dialogs from the book describe my sentiments perfectly – “Strange can be quite normal” (so apt for this book) and “It is not important”. I would say move on to another book for now!

My Rating: ⭐⭐ stars.

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