This past week had me reading Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward and Fever Dreams by Samanta Schweblin. Fever Dreams wasn’t on my list until it beat Lincoln in the Bardo in The Morning News Tournament of Books. I read the entire book in one sitting in about an hour, which is partially because I’m a fast reader, and partially because you cannot put this book down or even really pause while reading it because, for me at least, you’re desperately trying to figure out what the heck is going on. The book never really tells you what the heck is going on. So, if you want to read a kind of terrifying, wonderfully written book, that in the end leaves you with lots of questions – this is the book for you. I’m very impressed with the translator (it was originally written in Spanish), because while I’m sure something was lost in the translation, I really couldn’t tell. The book is gripping. It kind of made me think of the documentary Koyaanisqatsi- Life out of Balance although Fever Dreams tells a specific story and Koyaanisqatsi doesn’t really tell a story at all so much as create a similar terror inside you at what we’re doing to the planet…

The more I think about, the more I am forced to tell you that I didn’t like Fever Dream and I’m not sure I would recommend it to you. It doesn’t exactly feel like a book to me. It was more of an immersive experience. So I guess I don’t want to not recommend it to you because it is an amazingly written book, it’s just going to leave you thinking AHHHAH and WHAT??? I realize I have provided you with no summary of the plot of this book and I guess that because I still can’t really tell you what it was about… And I don’t want to ruin anything for you if you do pick this up.

I will recommend Sing Unburied Sing which is one of those books that’s gone on my “to read” list and come off and then gone on again as I read different reviews. Once again it was the Tournament of Books that convinced me to bump this up the list. I thought this book would be creepier and more sort of fantastical, al la Beloved (although in deference to Beloved, I read it in high school when I loved sci-fi but didn’t really get supernatural realism or genre bending), but I found it to be painfully real.

Sing is narrated by Jojo a 13 year old boy, his mother Leonie, and a ghost Richie. Yeah, okay, so the book is a bit supernatural… Despite the ghosts that populate the book, this book feels true, it says important things about how people face life and death. I don’t know how much of the plot to describe to you, basically the book covers Jojo’s father getting out of prison and Jojo, Leonie, and his little sister go to pick him, also accidentally pick up Richie the ghost, and then they go back home.

SPOILERS:

I found Mam’s death scene kind of realistic, which is maybe odd because there are multiple ghosts and supernatural stuff that happens, but for me at least, it captured the emotion of being with someone as they die, especially in a situation where you’re letting them go and you don’t want to. Also, while I don’t believe in ghosts, my Dad repeatedly told my mom at the end that her parents were with her, that her family had come to take her home, so I think a lot of people will identify with the idea that Mam’s son comes to fight for her and to take her home.

Sing is a beautifully written book. I returned the book to the library today, pretty much immediately after finishing it, because I didn’t want to be preventing anyone else from reading it. I kind of regret this and would like to re-read the end of the book, so I may actually end up buying this one.
Also read – The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection – Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve written about this series a few times, so I’ll spare you the same thoughts. Managed to resist getting the next book in The Number One Ladies Detective Agency series out of the library today, instead taking out The Animators and When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

Currently reading: The Rules of Magic (and then on to my new library books and my older library books…).