Fever dream by Samanta Schweblin

 

Fever dream by Samanta Schweblin

Argentinean fiction

Original title – , Distancia de rescate

Translator – Megan Mcdowell

Source – Personal copy

Now this was the first book I read after the longlist came out as it was the one we may have called in I feel if it hadn’t made the longlist. Samanta is another from the granta list of the best Spanish language writers under 35 that came out a few years ago , I wish they would do a few more of these books for other languages that list has produced some of the best books I have read over the last few years and Samanta is one of the names of that list I had want to try long before I actually got to this book .

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

Earthworms ?

No, another kind of worms

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

The opening lines leave the question why is the sheet rough on Amanda is she even alive ?

The english title is maybe more to the point of what this book is the spanish title means rescue distance , which in itself is a question where as the english title is Fever dream and that is just what we have here . Two people in a hospital room the first Amanda she lies waking from a fever or in a fever and beside her is a boy , not her son David he is trying to guide her in his own young way , she talks of worms around her he gets he to try to rec all what exactly happened to get them there .Then earlier Amanda in her dream talks to Carla about her son that fell ill six years earlier Also called David .We also see a bleak land that of Patagonia , this land where the Gauchos still farm like they did years ago but is this also a sign of how the world she lives in has changed recently ? Amanda story is one that has very few answers to us as the reader more questions which even thou this book is only 150 short pages it has me two weeks later think about what it is all about ,

How can it not be ? That’s the story we need to understand

No , that’s not the story, it has nothing to do with the exact moment. Don’t get distracted.

I need to measure the danger, other wise it’s hard to calculate the rescue distance . The same way I surveyed the house and its surroundings when we arrived, now I need to see the green house, understand its gravity .

When did you start to measure this rescue distance ?

It’s something I inherited from my mother. “I want you close ” she’d say to me . “let’s stay within rescue distance .”

The spanish title explained her in a detached conversation from Amanda .

This is a very unsettling book that has echos of so many thinks , I do wonder myself if it is just one person with two voices , is David a soul that Amanda meet when she was at the hospital before with her own child , like the landscape she lives in is he a shepherd to guide either one way or the other to the light of life or to the light of being with a daughter she may have lost . Maybe this is like the sixth sense or the film the passenger where those that are dead never really accepted  that they are like Bruce Willis or Anne Hathway in both those films need to be guided to the other side . The book to me has a feel of Beckett in a way Amanda and David detatched voices remind me somewhat of Vladmir and Estragon waiting in a room somewhat in limbo trying to get from one place but waaiting for some to guide them. Amanda voice at times remind me of the way Beckett wrote in something like Not I her life tumbles out of her at a great speed , this is wonderfully drawn out in Mcdowell’s translation . For me this will make the shortlist and may just make our shadow shortlist.

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Shadow Man booker prediction 2017

It is a few day til we see the longlist for this years Man booker international prizes , this is the first in the post Boyd era Boyd Tonkins being a judge in all the IFFP and the first man booker so it will beinteresting to see if the panel changes tack with the books on the list. I have select only from books I have read in the last twelve months since the prize .

Sudden death by Alvaro Enrique

A tennis match spreads around thew world at the start of the enlightenment , the second book by him I have read and the best mexican novel from last year .

 

Image result for sudden death alvaro enrigue

Affections by Rodrigo Hasbun

 

A second spanish language novel , last year was a great yeaer for spanish lit yet none made the longlist , this follows a mad german explorer and his family in 1950’s Bolivia .

 

The winterlings by Christina Sanchez-Andrade

Another spanish novel this follows two ssters returning home after somehting cause them to leave the village many years ago .

Moonstone by Sjon

I am a huge fan of Sjon and the story of Mani is dickensian in style with a backdrop of classic films and a flu epidemic

Consteliation by Adrien Bosc

A french pklane crashes and we have pen pics of the crew and paassengers a cross section of the modern world from the disney merchandise cheif to some spanish shepards on hunt for a better life .

Constellation

Trysting by Emmanuelle Pagano

love broken into bare words stripped of who and why beautiful in its brittleness like a leaf skelton of love

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Land of my Father by Vamba Sheriff

A freed slave returns to Africa but then want to convert the locals to God at what cost

None like her by Jela Krecic

A man goes on the hunt for lovve a slovenian fonz tries to find the one

 

Panorama by Dusan Sarotar

Simply this is what translated fiction is about the ripple effect of a writer like Sebald hits Slovenian and produces a true gem , as I’ve said I can’t see why Istros haven’t been on the list !!!!!

 

2084 by Boualem Sansal

A new take on 1984 in a ISlamic style country , powerful writing from one of the best writers around

 

Compass by MAthias Enard

Another look at the arab world as a man can’t sleep we see his previous love and the run around the arab world that is no longer there , also the influence of east on western culture .

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Book 12 –

Of books I haven;t read here is a selection I think could be there –

War and War laszlo Krasznahorkai

Fever dream by Samantha Schweblin

Transmigration of bodies by Yuri Herrera

are three that may make it also as ever Peirene have had three good books the empress and the cake is a great look at eating disorders .

 

 

 

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