Samanta Schweblin: Tales from the Uncanny Valley
When Samanta Schweblin burst onto the English-language literary scene in 2017, her evocations of the horrors that tinge everyday life struck a deep chord with readers. No surprise then, that all three of the Argentine author’s books, translated into English by Megan McDowell, have been shortlisted or longlisted for the International Booker Prize. But none has been more spine-tingling than her latest, Little Eyes.
Schweblin has an uncanny ability to portray a world nearly but not quite like our own. The difference lies in cuddly robotic pets – kentukis – that are slowly becoming everyone’s must-have gadget. But these are not just Furbies: they have cameras behind their eyes, and each owner has a real person watching them remotely. The novel takes readers into the lives of owners, and of the ‘dwellers’ who choose to inhabit kentukis from afar. With this ingenious idea, Schweblin creates a device that will subtly but surely change the world.
In this event she discusses the wildly-imaginative Little Eyes with Book Festival director Nick Barley.