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Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream: Watery Toxicity, Percolating Disquietude

Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream: Watery Toxicity, Percolating Disquietude OLIVIA V Á ZQUEZ-MEDINA Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream: Watery Toxicity, Percolating Disquietude amanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream (Distancia de rescate) can be read as a literary exploration of disquietude: trepidation, apprehension, fear, and dread are the troubling ae ff cts that give the novel its distinctive “feeling tone.” The excerpts from the press reviews included in the English edition capture the overwhelming emotional potency that readers find in it: qualie fi rs such as “disquieting,” “thrilling,” “frightening,” “nauseous,” and “disturbing” all come up; “terrifying” and “eerie” appear more than once, with some reviewers vividly describing the “dread” and “fear” triggered by the book in striking bodily terms: “by the end I could hardly breathe,” writes Max Porter. Jesse Ball―whose novel The Curfew is quoted in Fever Dream’s epigraph―warns the reader: “Schweblin will injure you.” Fear, of course, is one of the emotions linked to the aesthetic experience since Aristotle’s study of tragedy; in her novel, Schweblin masterfully constructs a plot that interweaves con- temporary anxieties around ecological disaster and environmental 1. I refer to Sianne Ngai’s formulation of “feeling tone”: “a literary or cultural arti- fact’s . . . global or organizing affect, its general disposition or orientation towards its audience http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream: Watery Toxicity, Percolating Disquietude

Contemporary Literature , Volume 62 (1) – Mar 10, 2022

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949

Abstract

OLIVIA V Á ZQUEZ-MEDINA Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream: Watery Toxicity, Percolating Disquietude amanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream (Distancia de rescate) can be read as a literary exploration of disquietude: trepidation, apprehension, fear, and dread are the troubling ae ff cts that give the novel its distinctive “feeling tone.” The excerpts from the press reviews included in the English edition capture the overwhelming emotional potency that readers find in it: qualie fi rs such as “disquieting,” “thrilling,” “frightening,” “nauseous,” and “disturbing” all come up; “terrifying” and “eerie” appear more than once, with some reviewers vividly describing the “dread” and “fear” triggered by the book in striking bodily terms: “by the end I could hardly breathe,” writes Max Porter. Jesse Ball―whose novel The Curfew is quoted in Fever Dream’s epigraph―warns the reader: “Schweblin will injure you.” Fear, of course, is one of the emotions linked to the aesthetic experience since Aristotle’s study of tragedy; in her novel, Schweblin masterfully constructs a plot that interweaves con- temporary anxieties around ecological disaster and environmental 1. I refer to Sianne Ngai’s formulation of “feeling tone”: “a literary or cultural arti- fact’s . . . global or organizing affect, its general disposition or orientation towards its audience

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Mar 10, 2022

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