More than a conventional novel, Kentukis is a collection of glimpses into people’s lives as they deal with the new must have gadgets that have become a worldwide obsession. These gadgets are known as Kentukis, and what they do is establish a connection between the person who owns the Kentuki (a sort of even creepier Furby) and the person who is the Kentuki, that is, the person who bought a connection to look into the life of the person who owns the Kentuki through the cam installed behind the eyes of the little plush toy.
Now, if you think this sounds like a nightmare… It does and it is, and yet it isn’t that far removed from our reality, with all the gadgets we have in our homes and carry around with us. And this is of course the point Schweblin is trying to make as we follow the lives of a handful of owners and their Kentukis in places as diverse as Peru, Hong Kong Mexico, Italy, etc.
To paraphrase another favorite writer, Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez, “I don’t read novels to find the answers, I read novels to ask myself questions”. And this is exactly what Schweblin does with Kentukis: force us to ask ourselves questions about our relationship to (and dependence on) technology, about our voyeuristic and/or exhibitionist nature, and all the ethical questions that modern technology ought to raise.
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