Fever Dreams

Samanta Schweblin and Karolina Ramqvist

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Samanta Schweblin and Karolina Ramqvist

«I call it the ‘rescue distance’: that’s what I’ve named the variable distance separating me from my daughter, and I spend half the day calculating it.»

There is a tense atmosphere, something lurking just beneath the surface, in Samanta Schweblin‘s slim, critically acclaimed novel Distancia de Rescate (Fever Dream in Megan McDowell’s English translation, and Feberdrøm in Signe Prøis’s Norwegian).

Earlier this year, the novel was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.

The young woman Amanda is dying. Together with the boy David, she attempts to pinpoint exactly when and how she got sick.

Shortly before, she rented a holiday house in the Argentinian countryside with her daughter Nina. Here, they meet Carla and her son David, who has something strange about him.

Something is off in this idyllic summer place, or is it Amanda losing control? The fear that something will happen to her daughter bleeds into this creepiness that she can’t really articulate.

In Schweblin’s feverish story, the magical realism we recognize from earlier generations of Latin American writers is crossed with a gothic realism.

The universe she creates is eerily spine-schilling, constantly balancing between dark realism and the supernatural, between dream and reality.

Writer and journalist Karolina Ramqvist has also portrayed a young mother in a bleak and dreamlike universe in Den Vita Staden (The White City in Saskia Vogel’s translation). She will meet the Argentinian Schweblin in conversation.

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