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Reading: "Something in the Body": Material Memoir and Posthuman Horror in Samanta Schweblin's Fever D...

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Research Article

"Something in the Body": Material Memoir and Posthuman Horror in Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream

Author:

K.M. Ferebee

Ghent University, BE
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Abstract

Samanta Schweblin’s 2014 novel Distancia de rescate, published in English as Fever Dream, tells the unsettling tale of a mother who, while vacationing in a rural area of Argentina, may or may not be exposed to a toxic agricultural chemical that may or may not have poisoned the area’s children, who have been subjected to an unconventional healing treatment that may or may not have displaced their souls from their bodies, causing pieces of them to reside in someone else. The novel has been read as “a toxic ecohorror tale” (Meyer) or as an “ecological horror story... about toxic agribusiness” (Economist), yet here I argue for another interpretation of Fever Dream: one that utilizes the tropes of what Stacy Alaimo characterizes as the “material memoir,” peeling back their familiarity to expose a toxic uncanny and literalizing the leaky, confused human subject that is found dwelling in it. The novel’s ambivalent, dread-laced depiction of a posthumanist reality in which the whole, complete, and “real” human subject is unrecoverable— and in which we contaminate and are contaminated by the familiar body of the human other as well as the foreign body of the nonhuman threat— offers, I suggest, the possibility of a new approach to ethics of responsibility in the Anthropocene.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.209
How to Cite: Ferebee, K.M., 2021. \"Something in the Body\": Material Memoir and Posthuman Horror in Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream. Latin American Literary Review, 48(95). DOI: http://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.209
Published on 06 Apr 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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