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Reviews for Little Eyes

by Samanta Schweblin

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A nuanced exploration of anonymous connection and distant intimacy in our heavily accessible yet increasingly isolated lives. Schweblin, a canny observer of both the better and less-savory angels of our nature, asks: Would you rather be a "keeper," inviting an unknown observer into your home to view your daily routines and private habits through the camera eyes of a "kentuki," a kind of fuzzy robot animal companion and the latest technocraze, or would you prefer to be a "dweller," the anonymous controller on the other end, rolling on little rubber wheels through the life of a stranger? Kentukis take the form of animals—crows, dragons, and most aptly, moles; they're slickly packaged, expensive, desirable, and have the capacity for only a single connection. We spy on a number of these transglobal connections, some brief, as with the Barcelona nursing home director who buys kentukis for his residents, while others span months and are followed throughout the book. One such relationship begins with a dweller in Lima, who displaces the maternal feelings she can't seem to connect to her adult son onto a young German woman, a keeper, whose abundant affection for her rabbit kentuki gives the Lima woman a sense of belonging. As happens with many new technologies we blithely attach to our lives, few users have really considered the potential consequences of the arrangement before entering into it. But everything imaginable happens through kentukis—adventure, love, rejection, extortion, exploitation, and even more inventive depravities. As the firecracker ending reminds us, with our real and virtual lives increasingly blurred, any one of those moments could be our own. Capacious, touching, and disquieting, this is not-so-speculative fiction for an overnetworked and underconnected age. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.