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Fever Dream

by Samanta Schweblin

Is this a tale of the supernatural, or an ecological nightmare? Related in dialogue between a dying woman and her bedside companion, this creepily compelling story demands to be read in one sitting, in order to fully experience the inexorable sense of dread. In fact, the style of prose is so mesmerising that you will find it hard to stop reading, until you know (or will you?) what really happened.

Extract

I need to measure the danger, otherwise 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.'
Your mother isn’t important. Go on.
Now I walk away from the house. It’ll be fine, I think. I’m sure the walk will take only around ten minutes. Nina sleeps soundly, and she knows how to wake up alone and wait for me calmly; that’s how we do it at home, when I go down to buy something in the morning ... 'Sooner or later something bad is going to happen,' my mother would say. 'And when it happens I want to have you close.'
Your mother is not important.
Translated by Megan McDowell

Parallels

The South by Jorge Luis Borges
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
 

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