Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin

Booksta convinced me to read this book. I was pretty excited with the premise. However, it seemed like a dry, monotonous book. Both the synopsis and the story seem and read like an episode of Black Mirror. This is a short book, and yet it took me way too long to finish it.

So there’s these cute little devices called a ‘kentuki’ with cameras on their eyes (hence, the name), with viewers on the other side who can control the movement of this device. Each kentuki has two users: the keeper, who owns the toy, and the dweller, a volunteer assigned at random who controls it remotely, via software interface, from elsewhere in the world. There’s pandas and birds and rabbits and dragons and whatnot. Everyone said this novel was dark and quick. Dark, yes. Quick, no (for me.)

It’s like there’s surveillance device following you at all times. The keeper isn’t told the identity of the dweller; owning a kentuki is like inviting a mute stranger to live in your home. So it’s facinating, yet scary. Several characters in the book have independent stories that conclude in their own manner – some form unlikely friendships while some display ugliest form of human emotion and scary sides with how lonely or dissatisfied they are with their lives.

Some characters were immersive while some straight up boring. I skimmed through a lot of parts. However, the character did show nuance with human behaviour in focus.

It is translated from Spanish, so the language is simple and curt. It could have gotten slightly more story-telling-ish but it sufficed for the premise. It is a one-time read, especially for lovers of sci-fi and of course, Black Mirror. Maybe Stephen Knight will adapt it. I’d watch that.

Rating – 3/5

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