Fever

Fever Mary Beth Keane,named One Of TheUnderBy The National Book Foundation, Has Written A Spectacularly Bold And Intriguing Novel About The Woman Known As Typhoid Mary, The First Person In America Identified As A Healthy Carrier Of Typhoid Fever On The Eve Of The Twentieth Century, Mary Mallon Emigrated From Ireland At Age Fifteen To Make Her Way In New York City Brave, Headstrong, And Dreaming Of Being A Cook, She Fought To Climb Up From The Lowest Rung Of The Domestic Service Ladder Canny And Enterprising, She Worked Her Way To The Kitchen, And Discovered In Herself The True Talent Of A Chef Sought After By New York Aristocracy, And With An Independence Rare For A Woman Of The Time, She Seemed To Have Achieved The Life She D Aimed For When She Arrived In Castle Garden Then One Determined Medical Engineer Noticed That She Left A Trail Of Disease Wherever She Cooked, And Identified Her As An Asymptomatic Carrier Of Typhoid Fever With This Seemingly Preposterous Theory, He Made Mallon A Hunted Woman The Department Of Health Sent Mallon To North Brother Island, Where She Was Kept In Isolation FromTo , Then Released Under The Condition That She Never Work As A Cook Again Yet For Mary, Proud Of Her Former Status And Passionate About Cooking, The Alternatives Were Abhorrent She Defied The Edict Bringing Early Twentieth Century New York Alive, The Neighborhoods, The Bars, The Park Carved Out Of Upper Manhattan, The Boat Traffic, The Mansions And Sweatshops And Emerging Skyscrapers, Fever Is An Ambitious Retelling Of A Forgotten Life In The Imagination Of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon Becomes A Fiercely Compelling, Dramatic, Vexing, Sympathetic, Uncompromising, And Unforgettable Heroine

Mary Beth Keane s first novel, The Walking People 2009 was a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Award, and her second novel, Fever 2013 was named a best book of 2013 by NPR Books, Library Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle In 2011 she was named to the National Book Foundation s 5 under 35 She was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction and her new novel, Ask Again, Yes, is forthcoming in Jun

[BOOKS] ✪ Fever  By Mary Beth Keane – Uc0.info
  • Hardcover
  • 306 pages
  • Fever
  • Mary Beth Keane
  • English
  • 06 May 2019
  • 9781451693416

10 thoughts on “Fever

  1. says:

    Before you start reading let s see those hands Both sides please You call that clean Are you kidding me I ve seen cleaner hands in mud wrestling Try using soap this time, and I don t want to see anything but skin under those fingernails Go ahead I ll wait A very large foot tap, tap, taps Eyes rise to scan the ceiling A puff of exasperation is emitted waiting Let s see Both sides All right I guess that will have to do Sit down Go ahead. In the East River, between Queens and the Bronx, and within sight of the largest penal colony in the world, Riker s Island, lie two tiny islands, South Brother and North Brother These siblings are currently owned by the New York City Parks Department, and are preserved as a wildlife sanctuary North Brother now sports a handful of decaying buildings One must receive special permission to visit, as there is very real concern about the possibility of visitors plunging through rotted out structures It was famous in its time as a bar less cage for one particular bird, Mary Mallon, widely known as Typhoid Mary Fever is Mary Beth Keane s novelization of the life of Ms Mallon, or at least the part of it that gained some notoriety in early 20th century New York City Although Mary did not suffer from typhoid fever herself, at some unknown point early in her life her body began producing the Salmonella typhi bacterium responsible for the disease, and she would have that dark passenger for the rest of her life It is likely, a virtual certainty in fact, that she was exposed to the disease at some point, even though she reported never having had it She was the first person identified as an asymptomatic carrier In the hubbub surrounding Mary s detention, legal challenges and impact on the health of those around her, local newspapers slapped the name Typhoid Mary on her and it stuck These days it is applied to any who spread a disease without themselves suffering from it Keane opens with Mary being carted away by the Department of Health, itself created in response to the waves of epidemics that followed the Civil War We look forward and behind from here Mary was an Irish immigrant, arriving in the US at age 14 It would appear that she brought with her than just an eagerness to work and some skill as a cook Her first job was as a laundress, but she found herself handling cooking duties when the usual cook became ill Over the years, Mary acquired a reputation as a pretty good cook, but it also happened that dozens of people for whom Mary prepared food became ill and some died She worked in many households, and while not everyone with whom she came into contact became infected, enough did for her to come to the attention of the fittingly named Doctor George Soper, a sanitary engineer When a family for whom Mary had been working in Oyster Bay, Long Island, became ill en masse the owner of the property, concerned about the impact of a health scare on his potential rental income, brought in Soper as a consultant to get to the bottom of the infection He was not a medical doctor but of a public health specialist While typhoid fever had been around forever, epidemiology was a relatively new science In fact Soper had graduated from Columbia s School of Mines and was trained as an engineer to look for sources of environmental contamination, usually some sort of pollution The novel presents him as a nemesis for Mary, an avenging angel she is constantly seeking to evade Keane s focus is on Mary, though, and we follow her travails, working as a cook, for families in and outside the city, frequently leaving after the households succumb to disease, struggling with guilt over her impact on people, struggling also to retain her freedom We see her first quarantine, her subsequent release and, later, her return to incarceration Here she is in 1910.Keane fleshes out Mary s life with a look at her boyfriend, a German immigrant and alcoholic, named Alfred, a few friends, and the people with whom she worked and resided This offers Keane a window through which we can see New York City at the turn of the 20th century This local and historical view is one of the best things about the book Keane rings a bell here and there for significant events of the day One is the Titanic disaster, with Mary feeling badly not only for the souls lost and those damaged at sea, but the poor bastards working the docks who would have to handle the incoming remains This concern with the working class experience permeates the book We see a very tough time, with people living in extremely crowded, and often unsanitary conditions, having to put up with the restrictions on financial advancement that are a product of the absence of unions, having to cope, with no societal help, with disasters like the death of a breadwinner One jaw dropping scene showed how the Department of Health produced vaccines The most chilling, for this native New Yorker, was a portrayal of the Triangle Fire that offered a vision that would be repeated on a grander scale almost a hundred years later Very moving stuff In addition to economic issues of the working class, Keane raises the very real issue of civil rights When is it ok for the state to deprive someone of their freedom if that person has committed no crime Mary s first quarantine was a clear case of preventive detention Was the Department of Health in the right in imprisoning Mary What about other asymptomatic carriers A male breadwinner in upstate New York was released after only two weeks Why was Mary singled out for such harsh treatment when others with the same issue were allowed their freedom How much of her incarceration had to do with Mary being female, a poor immigrant and a member of a despised ethnic group How much did it have to do with her uppityness unwillingness to automatically kowtow to public officials Consider what might happen today to, say, a Mexican immigrant cook in Arizona, were to present the same issue On the other hand, if Mary had responded calmly when confronted by the authorities and held to her promise to find employment in something other than food preparation, might she have been able to retain her freedom Did she know the effect she was having on those around her Did she care Keane offers some views on that There was one element of this book that I thought presented a golden opportunity that was missed The story of Dr Soper, love him or hate him, had the potential for presenting a much deeper look at the times Epidemiology was new and Soper was at the forefront Coping with illness via construction had come into its own in the 19th century and had yielded impressive results The creation or improvement of sewer and water systems had reduced mortality considerably The Board of Health in NYC had only been in existence since 1866, an attempt to address increasing urban mortality Soper functioned as a private investigator and increasing his presence here might have afforded a richer look at urban environmental changes and health care realities and policy issues of the era That said, Keane has written an illuminating portrait of a time and place, has raised issues concerning civil liberties, labor rights, class and ethnic bias, and has given every parent a bit ammunition for use on soap challenged children Fever may not be the hottest book of the year, but if you enjoy historical fiction and are at all interested in the history of medicine, public health or New York City, it is pretty infectious EXTRA STUFFHere are Keane s web page, FB and Twitter linksIn A Visit to Typhoid Mary s Domain, a New York Times reporter ventures across the water to see what the island is like today Beyond Typhoid Mary The Origins of Public Health at Columbia and in the City by David Rosner, is a fascinating look at the history of public health.In case you are interested in an unusual vacation destination, here is the NYC Parks map of North Brother IslandFor a look at Mary in her later yearsTry here for an excellent series of short articles about Mary UPDATES3 21 13 I just learned that Fever made the Indie Next list for March8 8 13 GR friend Jaye sent along a wonderful link to a site called The Kingston Lounge This particular part of it contains a lot of photos of North Brother in it s or less current state, that being abandoned and protected as a bird sanctuary The photos are way cool, and creepy, the fodder of ghost, zombie, or post apocalypse cinema And, if you don t mind a purely gratuitous music link, for something feverish, you might enjoy this this.

  2. says:

    Everyone s heard of Typhoid Mary Her name has come down to us through the years and has become a catch phrase for anyone spreading disease She is treated very sympathetically and realistically in this fictionalized version of the woman, Mary Mallon The author relies on her real life story and researched the typical life of a poor Irish woman in turn of the century America She was locked up not once, but twice and for the rest of her life for being an asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid Denied civil liberties, Mary, could not understand why she was being persecuted, as the science made no sense to her She always insisted that she had never had the disease which is spread from contact with body waste Washing hands was not understood, even by some doctors of the time as a way to prevent the spread of infection, so it s not unusual that a lay person wouldn t understand this in the early 1900s.Her life was tragic in many ways, not only was she on her own in New York she came over by herself from Ireland at 15 , she also lived with an alcoholic boyfriend for most of her life and jumped from job to job, never getting ahead or being able to have a real home The author believes part of the rage and animus directed towards her was not only the disease she carried, but the hatred of certain types of immigrants, like the Irish, and her poverty and she had a temper and was uppity and didn t know her place.

  3. says:

    3.5 stars I was intrigued and interested to learn after coming across Mary Beth Keane s fictional rendering, in her novel, Fever, about whose unfortunate life coined the phrase, later let slip so mindlessly from between the lips of ignorant kids Typhoid Mary As children, we didn t understand The intimation was that it meant an impending catastrophe, either in the force of one person or a group I think we may have muddled it with Typhoon , which carried a sense of ominous doom but was hardly related Chickenpox, now, we knew about them Transferable disease was not talked about, like money, feelings or death I felt that I owed Mary Mullen some respect after these years of ignorance.FEVER is an interesting personal account of Mary Mullen s life, from the time she entered the USA borders in the late 1890s, until her death in 1938 The biographical history follows her relationship with Alfred Biekholt, a handsome ne er do well, and Mary s steady progress at becoming a notable cook among wealthy New York Families When the newly appointed Department of Sanitation is called, primarily a vengeful act of an uppity house mistress, Mary becomes the first person to be removed for study of carrying symptomless Typoid Fever, and held without rights for three years, illegally Once released, Mary had to find work with her best skill prohibited Science itself was uncertain to explain the periods of remission and then infectiveness, and were ineffective in assisting these socially isolated patients situations and educating them, in this upcoming field of Infectious Disease Research Mary s financial circumstances led, finally, to her desperately taking a position at a hospital Years had gone by where she had luckily escaped passing on the Salmonella strain of bacteria, and Mary became careless and perhaps self validating that she was in fact not responsible for the illness in the wake of her cooking positions This time, however, in the paediatric floor, many, many became ill and some died Mary Mullen was returned to a solitary cabin, built beside the hospital for those in quarantine and lived the next twenty three years there until her death As a relatively new country, America is believed to have has many hundreds of silent carriers in its midsts Author Mary Beth Keane was remiss in not giving her reading audience at least a short summarized history of Virile Diseases up to this point, and a solid understanding about Typhoid Fever This background could have elevated her interesting novel to an outstanding one I kept waiting for that hook but it never came, and ended up referring to Google for data to fill in the gaps, clarify the hints and understand the difficulty with diagnosis and life saving until the introduction of antibiotics, once it was known as a bacterium Therefore, a solid history of the mystified centre of Mary Mullen s life, which was worth knowing about No Typhoon Mary And positive, I guess, that I wanted to clarify the very important science 3.5 stars.

  4. says:

    The start is superb Candace Thaxton does the narration of the audiobook Her tone perfectly expresses how Typhoid Mary views what is happening to her, both the amazement and incredulity of that which she is accused of and horror as loved ones die Could she be the cause of others deaths when she is so healthy herself And now, on completion, I have to say that I enjoyed every minute spent listening I loved Mary s Irish brogue and the details of life in NYC at the turn of the century even the Titanic and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911 are thrown in This is a book of historical fiction If all books of historical fiction were this good I would lap them up, but unfortunately that fails to be the case To me people are intriguing What makes one person behave as they do and another completely differently Math is so simple, follow the rules and you get the right answer, but people, they are a conundrum I want historical fiction to go inside the minds of the main characters so I understand what makes each one of them tick I want to see the world through their eyes, knowing full well that some guesses are being made I want to understand their thoughts and emotions I want the author to convince me of what their thorough study of the known facts has led them to believe This is what I want from historical fiction Do you want the same If you want to understand what Typhoid Mary could have been thinking and what she could have been feeling, read this book The author s conclusions could be wrong, but I am convinced If you just want the known facts about Mary Mallon go to Wiki So why did I remove one star Well, I am picky I wish the author had added an author s note clearly stating what fictitious elements she added to the known facts Was there really an Albert, the love of her life I am very glad that he was written into the novel because their love relationship felt so real He must have existed I hope he existed for Mary Mallon Their relationship was complicated The book just would not have drawn my attention as much as it did had he not been there I need to know was Albert real

  5. says:

    Fever is a fascinating novel that mixes historical fact and a fictional narrative to tell the tale of Typhoid Mary , the woman held responsible for several deadly outbreaks of the disease in the US around the turn of the nineteenth century In 1907, Mary Mallon was arrested at the direction of the Department of Health A forty year old, unmarried, Irish immigrant cook she stood accused of spreading Typhoid, a bacterial disease transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, among the New York households she worked for over a period of several years Her role was identified by Dr George Soper, a health researcher who discovered that Mary was the link between outbreaks, despite the fact she remained asymptomatic Mary felt victimised by the state who tried to force her to have surgery to remove her gallbladder thought at the time to be the host of the disease and when that failed exiled her to North Brother Island, a Quarantine hospital in the middle of the East River where she eventually spent over 30 years in isolation until her death in 1938.There was little sympathy at the time for Mary Mallon, who caused the illness of as many as 50 persons, the death of three and likely Mary Beth Keane attempts to humanise Typhoid Mary in this novel and illustrate the possible thought process of the woman accused of willfully spreading deadly disease I am familiar with only the basics of the case see Wikipedia for an outline so I am not sure where exactly Keane s imagination merges with known facts but the author brings some balance to the prevailing view of the evil woman who fought the Health Deapartment every step of the way, and later flaunted their decree she was never to cook again Mary does prove to be a sympathetic character in Fever, even though she has a temper and a tendency to make poor decisions Keane focuses on the period between Mary s arrest and her second period of exile, sharing the details of Mary s ordinary day to day life with her common law relationship with Alfred Breihof, a feckless drunk who was often unemployed Personally I found the chapters focusing on her relationship, or following Alfred, a distraction from Mary s story though it does add depth to her character Still, I was far intrigued by Mary s reaction to her vilification as Typhoid Mary It s understandable that Mary would find it difficult to believe Dr Soper s claims that she was the cause of Typhoid outbreaks, especially given it was a common disease whose cause and mode of transmission was unknown Accused of creating a trail of illness and death Mary fought the medical establishment, dodging the Dr Soper, refusing testing and denying her culpability It is also clear that Mary was victimised by the Health Department which took advantage of her status to impose unreasonable demands on her Despite several larger outbreaks being traced to other asymptomatic carriers soon after Mary s arrest, she was the only one arrested and forcibly exiled, mainly it seems because the other identified carriers were men with family and money, who could not be as easily bullied Mary s case raises interesting moral and ethical questions about public health and safety, asking for example, if the rights of one individual outweigh the safety of many It is also a fascinating glimpse of medical knowledge and sanitation in the early 1900 s Remarkably most of the cases of Typhoid fever could have been avoided with the simple act of hand washing Fever is also a vivid portrait of New York City at the turn of the century and particularly of the lifestyle of the servant class From streets heaped with garbage to rooms crowded with tenants, basic hygiene and sanitation was practically non existent, encouraging diseases that could have been easily eradicated.The provocative tale of an enigmatic historical figure, Fever is a compelling read Keane skillfully infuses historical fact with imagined personality to creating an entertaining and intriguing tale which should appeal to a wide audience.

  6. says:

    Was Mary Mallone Typhoid Mary a killer or a victim I will admit that there were times throughout this novel that I found myself wanting to strangle her and at other times I wanted to be her advocate and friend I really admired her strong work ethic and fierce independence while questioning her cleanliness in the kitchen double dippingdouble yuck.Any novel that evokes these kinds of mixed emotions from me gets high marks stars Well done

  7. says:

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at wasn t my intention to start in on New York history, but it appears I m on a little bit of a kick Between Ellen Horan s 31 Bond Street and now Mary Beth Keane s Fever, I am getting quite the education The latter is of course the topic of this review and fair warning, I m going to analyze content here so if that is going to bother you, abandon this review while you can The Big Apple really comes alive under Keane s pen Through Mary she illustrates the lives of the working class, the clamoring streets they walked every day and the crowded tenements in which they lived She recreates the flawed and inequitable justice system and reveals the growing pains of a medical field still in its infancy Its a rather refreshing change of pace considering the multitude of novels that focus on shady business deals or passionate affairs Though I really appreciated Keane s re imagining of turn of the century New York, I can t say the storytelling was entirely to my taste Molly spends twenty seven months a North Brother Island before going to her first hearing and not once in that period does she give thought to the theories that landed her in quarantine, the people who had died, or the doctors who were keeping her a virtual prisoner She doesn t even wallow in loneliness, self doubt or boredom Nope For twenty seven months all she does is think of and exchange letters with Alfred Pleasant How are you I ll be home soon type letters It isn t until chapter eight, nearly a third into the book, when Mary is listening to the court proceedings that the reader begins to get to know her and her story All things considered I have to wonder at Keane s decision to illustrate Mary s initial stay at North Brother Island as she doesn t utilize it as a platform for character or plot development From this reader s perspective the entire section is seemingly unnecessary I admit that last bit sounds harsh and it comes off much critical than I want it to, but at the end of the day it is how I feel Please don t take my comments for than they are Keane really comes through in the latter two thirds of the book and I would hate to think my commentary steered anyone away from this title The piece is a slow starter, I don t understand why the author went the route she did, it didn t exactly work for me, and that is all I am trying to say here.Generally speaking I liked this book Yes, I felt there was a hiccup, but beyond that I enjoyed what Keane did here Typhoid Mary is a name many of us are familiar with, a name we associate with an infectious disease and death Too often we overlook that she was born Mary Mallon an immigrant who came to America looking for a start, a woman whose life and freedom were taken from her even as she realized her dreams Keane understands this and through her work, fiction though it is, she has given this poor woman s memory a measure humanity.

  8. says:

    Typhoid Mary has intrigued me ever since I learned about her, so I was glad to discover this book Unfortunately, the most deadly thing about it is the story Life isn t always drama and suspense, of course, but a reader expects from a fictionalized biography Perhaps the story would have been better told as non fiction, la Henrietta Lacks Or, if the people who dealt with Mallon were as fascinated by her as we still are, this is probably one of those extremely rare stories better told through multiple perspectives nurses, doctors, Alfred, John Cane, O Neill and others I m sure they had interesting opinions on Mary.

  9. says:

    received the book for free through Goodreads First ReadsThis was a great book Wonderfully written and a very interesting tale of Mary Mallone Typhoid Mary Mary Mallone was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier for Typhoid fever She worked as a cook and many became sick and some died after she prepared food for them She adamantly refused to acknowledge that anyone became sick as a result of her preparing food for them She maintained that she was a healthy person and there was no connection between her cooking and people becoming ill.I love books that make me think and also make me want to know about he subject matter I also love books that make me feel and this book made me feel, think and want to learn At first I really liked Mary and I liked how she advocated for herself and stood up for herself But as the book went on, I wanted to take her and shake her She refused to cooperate with authorities doctors, changed her name, and did fully give information about her past Was she really clueless or did she just not care I have my theory but will let others decide for themselves.As I stated above, this is a very well written book The author obviously put a lot of time and effort into research It is a compelling story one that stays with you upon finishing the book I will be recommending this book to my book club and to others I know who love a good book.

  10. says:

    Typhoid Mary Whether one views her as victim or villain, her story is an amazing one Although admitting to taking historical liberties, Mary Beth Keane portrays Mary Mallon s emotional point of view in Fever Fever isn t a traditional bio fiction novel, as it doesn t follow Mary s life from beginning to end but rather jumps right into the action of her being accused of carrying and spreading Typhoid, her subsequent lock up at a hospital, and her court trial Initially, the novel is somewhat vague in both the plot and Mary s character arc The beginning of the novel focuses on Mary s quarantine at the hospital over a duration of three years and yet it glosses over this time span in a mere few chapters At this point, the reader doesn t feel like the real Mary is revealed and will find it difficult to be sympathetic to her Keane clearly attempts to victimize Mary but while she makes statements concerning Mary s frustration and depression while quarantined, actions speak louder than words and the reader doesn t fully feel it from Mary Keane missed an opportunity to truly build Mary s character and add drama by gazing over this period of Mary s life Despite this lack of detail, Fever still manages to have a lively pace and feel vivid with historical accuracy concerning her Typhoid In fact, the imagery could easily be substituted for a movie manuscript the novel begs to be adapted into film form.As Fever progresses into describing Mary s trial, of her background is unveiled like puzzle pieces of a mystery as she recalls memories while staring off in the court room At times, these various paths which bring to mind her childhood, career, personal life, and recent quarantine can be somewhat confusing and disheveled Basically, the memory lapse method of writing can become old It also felt like Keane didn t know which path to choose while writing Keane intertwines Fever with an underlying romantic plot isn t this typical in historical fiction involving Mary s alcoholic boyfriend, Alfred This humanizes her, adds realism, and develops a side which isn t always considered when thinking of this real life woman making her relatable Plus, Keane successfully demonstrates the connections of how this personal drama would cause any individual not just Mary to either give up or fight for justice regarding her quarantine, trial, and potentially her life The second half of Fever varies drastically from the first in the quality of both the story and the writing style, which mesh together in a chunky way simply put it isn t as good as the first section Keane begins the section by focusing on the romance portion of the plot seemingly forgetting about the whole Typhoid aspect Further, the narration switches to that of Alfred and then abruptly jumps away from his character Keane then adds historical elements such as the sinking of the Titantic, which are clearly mentioned to help set the time period but aren t expressed smoothly and feel quite pointless Only after all that does Keane return to the Typhoid theme This is all rather confusing and senseless Even though this second half continues with the alternating narration and maintains the focus on the romance it is convincing and entertaining However, it is disappointing that the Typhoid feature of the historical story facts aren t the main focus as they are quite interesting in real life and could have helped strengthen the story This historical accuracy ebbs in ratio and favor to the fictional romance.The plot again takes an about face focusing on drugs and feels as though Keane had too many areas of interest and couldn t decide which to stick to Fever becomes quite disjointed and choppy The conclusion of Fever is satisfying enough and quietly ends the story but isn t as solid as I d hoped Overall, Mary is not a particularly likable character as she is stuck up, haughty, and seems to lack remorse Plus, it is very frustrating that she didn t just accept her lot and quit cooking or put on some gloves Sick or not, the way she cooked wasn t sanitary to begin with Please note that that a character not being likable does NOT mean that a book is not written well It annoys me greatly when a book receives poor reviews based merely on a character not being liked.Despite my complaints and not necessarily liking the second half of Fever as much as the first the novel follows a terrific topic, is entertaining, and employs considerable depth to be captivating Keane s work is well written with vivid imagery and worth a read by historical fiction fans and a film adaptation.

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