Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fever DreamFever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 I chose this book because the author was one of Granta's "Best Spanish Speaking Writers Under 22" and I intend to read others. From Argentina, this is her first novel although she has published short stories and won prizes. The story of two mothers whose children are poisoned by some unnamed ecological disaster, the tale is dystopian in the extreme. I had to look up the definition of dystopian: "The utopia and its derivative, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. ... Dystopian (or dystopic) fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite: the portrayal of a setting that completely disagrees with the author's ethos."
The story is a fast-paced nightmare which I read in a short evening but couldn't quite finish its disturbing conclusion just before retiring and waited until the next day. The translation is smooth. I had trouble delineating between the two speakers but it didn't seem to matter since they were relating common stories. It brought me back to Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go which was similarly troubling. The author's command of her characters is impressive, her descriptions vivid and rhythm fast. I don't know the author's "ethos" but would be curious to read her stories if I can handle it.

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