Simon and Schuster £7.99
Paperback review: Fever, By Mary Beth Keane
Sunday 15 September 2013
Keane’s historical novel is based on the life of “Typhoid Mary”, a young Irish female servant who was probably mistakenly blamed for New York’s typhoid outbreak in 1907, and who was subsequently isolated from her partner and her friends on North Brother Island in the East River for years.
When doctors eventually found tests on her to be inconclusive, she was released, only to be taken back again when those in her care began, once more, to fall ill. Keane fleshes out Mary Mallon very successfully into a woman who may have known she was a carrier but couldn’t admit it to herself, giving her a troubled personal life with the alcoholic Alfred Briehof.
What begins like a non-fiction account, with court details and a superficial account of the island to which Mary is moved, quickly comes to life as a fascinating story which also considers class difference – there is a lovely poignant moment when Mary meets her employer wearing the same hat that she has saved for months to buy, and who denies the similarity. Such moments give us much-needed insight into Mary’s character, and possibly why she behaved the way she did.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Thomas Heatherwick creates gin palace with a fantastical Willy Wonka vibe
Idris Elba 'absolutely' wants to play James Bond
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Kendrick Lamar: New song 'i' released on Soundcloud sampling Isley Brothers - listen here
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God