Review: Little Eyes
Updated: Feb 10
Little Eyes, by Samanta Schweblin (2018)
Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (2020)
Little Eyes is a creepy but prescient little book of speculative fiction.
In a series of vignettes that focus on different people from all over the world, we see into a future where mechanical stuffed animals with cameras behind their eyes, called kentukis, infiltrate almost everyone's home, in one way or another. They're like a combination of a tamagotchi, a furby, a roomba, and spyware. Each person is either a "keeper," someone who buys a kentuki to live in their home, or a "dweller," someone who buys a connection to a kentuki. As the anonymous controller of the kentuki, dwellers get to watch someone else's life - however much of it that person is willing to share. As a keeper, you essentially have a small, cute robotic pet - bunnies, pandas, moles, dragons - behind whose eyes there could be literally anyone from anywhere in the world. And neither party has any control over who ends up on the other end of their kentuki.
As we learn more about each character and their reasons for keeping or dwelling within a kentuki, we dive deeper into their secret motivations, indiscretions, perversions, and, in some cases, illegal activities. Some of the storylines get pretty dark... as you can imagine, given the voyeuristic and anonymous nature of kentukis. The book is definitely a commentary on human nature, all within an eerily realistic technological dystopia.
Thanks to Claire for the recommendation!
UP NEXT: The Near Witch, by V.E. Schwab