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Seven Empty Houses
Cover of Seven Empty Houses
Seven Empty Houses
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Winner of the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature
A blazing new story collection that will make you feel like the house is collapsing in on you, from the 3 time International Booker Prize finalist, "lead[ing] a vanguard of Latin American writers forging their own 21st-century canon.” –O, the Oprah magazine

The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin's tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back inside: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, a child's first encounter with darkness or the fallibility of parents.
In each story, twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin, revealing surreal truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. This is a masterwork from one of our most brilliant modern writers.
Cover art: Detail of "Le modele vivant" by René Magritte, 1953 / © 2022 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
Winner of the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature
A blazing new story collection that will make you feel like the house is collapsing in on you, from the 3 time International Booker Prize finalist, "lead[ing] a vanguard of Latin American writers forging their own 21st-century canon.” –O, the Oprah magazine

The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin's tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back inside: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, a child's first encounter with darkness or the fallibility of parents.
In each story, twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin, revealing surreal truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. This is a masterwork from one of our most brilliant modern writers.
Cover art: Detail of "Le modele vivant" by René Magritte, 1953 / © 2022 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Samanta Schweblin is the author of the novel Fever Dream, a finalist for the International Booker Prize, and the novel Little Eyes and story collection A Mouthful of Birds, longlisted for the same prize. Chosen by Granta as one of the twenty-two best writers in Spanish under the age of thirty-five, she has won numerous prestigious awards around the world. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages, and her work has appeared in English in The New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine. Originally from Buenos Aires, Schweblin lives in Berlin.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 8, 2022
    International Booker Prize finalist Schweblin (Fever Dream) centers her undercooked collection on families defined by an absence, whether physical or of intimacy, memory, or sanity. In the eerie and propulsive opener, “None of That,” a young woman and her disturbed mother get stuck in a wealthy neighborhood. After the mother connives her way into the landowner’s house, she compulsively tidies and catalogs the woman’s belongings. In “Out,” a woman flees her apartment wearing a bathrobe during a fight with her husband, only to have a disconcerting night on the town with a man who claims to be the building’s “escapist.” Unfortunately, Schweblin’s stories are far more evocative than substantive, and their sense of uncanny weightlessness—told in brisk, nondescript prose, featuring nameless and indistinct narrators and aimless plots—diminishes intrigue and leaves the reader hungry for deeper imaginative leaps. The exception is “Breath from the Depths,” which follows Lola, a retiree, as she descends into dementia and feuds with the young mother across the street. Schweblin can evoke a mesmerizing, eerie tone, but too often does little more than that.

  • AudioFile Magazine Seven talented narrators capture the unsettling and weird nature of this collection of seven stories. The longest story is deftly narrated by Mexican actor Yareli Arizmendi. Lola, an elderly woman who is losing her mind and wants to die, can't manage to make it happen. The talented Daisy Guevara narrates the most nerve-wracking story in which she convincingly voices an 8-year-old girl who is led away from a hospital waiting room by a man whose motives are unclear. Other stories deal with nonsensical, unsettling, borderline demented behavior that will unnerve listeners, prompting them to search for meaning in the thought-provoking collection. Each narrator rises to the challenge of interpreting the arresting--and sometimes even funny--situations the characters find themselves in. A.M. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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Samanta Schweblin
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