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Fever: A Novel | [Mary Beth Keane]

Fever: A Novel

Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless "medical engineer" proposed the inconceivable notion of the "asymptomatic carrier" - and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2013 - Was Mary Mallon just a scapegoat? A victim of a paranoid society willing to vilify and discard a poor, Irish immigrant and domestic worker based solely on shoddy science and sensationalism? Fever tells the story as “Typhoid Mary” may have told it herself. Through her eyes we get an insider’s view of early 20th Century New York City and of the perfect storm she was swept up in. Not a meek, unsophisticated victim at all, Mary is a woman ahead of her time in many ways: unmarried by choice, a bread winner, a skilled cook and a fighter. She does not simply accept her diagnosis, and by questioning the science behind the accusations she adds pressure on the doctors to better understand the spread of disease, and on the legal system to address issues of public health and civil liberties. This is historical fiction at its best. —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

A bold, mesmerizing novel about the woman known as "Typhoid Mary", the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever in the early 20th century - by an award-winning writer chosen as one of "5 Under 35" by the National Book Foundation.

Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless "medical engineer" proposed the inconceivable notion of the "asymptomatic carrier" - and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.

In order to keep New York's citizens safe from Mallon, the Department of Health sent her to North Brother Island where she was kept in isolation from 1907-1910. She was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary - spoiled by her status and income and genuinely passionate about cooking - most domestic and factory jobs were heinous. She defied the edict.

Bringing early 20th-century New York alive - the neighborhoods, the bars, the park being carved out of upper Manhattan, the emerging skyscrapers, the boat traffic - Fever is as fiercely compelling asTyphoid Mary herself, an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the hands of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes an extraordinarily dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable character.

©2013 Mary Beth Keane (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (352 )
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4.2 (322 )
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  •  
    Lori United States 04-08-13
    Lori United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Typhoid Mary, Victim or Villian?"

    I really enjoyed this book, I am not sure how historically accurate it is but I really don't care. It was a great look into the possible perspective into the thought process that Mary may have had. I actually like the storyline of Alfred and Mary, I like that it was about Mary's life not just typhoid fever.
    The story shows a historical perspective on how women were treated, how immigrants were treated and also gives perspective into the immigrants in the lower east side how they lived and the struggles they faced daily.
    It was interesting to think about how disease can be passed unwittingly from a carrier, how the government dealt with it then vs. how they deal with it now.
    It also has a storyline highlighting addiction and how it not only effects the addict but the people who care about the addict.
    All in all a very good and interesting read. I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry 04-01-13
    Henry 04-01-13
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    "Highly recommended!"
    If you could sum up Fever in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging and captivating.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Fever?

    The story of Typhoid Mary's life and of New York city at that time.


    Which character – as performed by Candace Thaxton – was your favorite?

    Mary


    Who was the most memorable character of Fever and why?

    Mary


    Any additional comments?

    A bit more factual information in the epilogue - three or four sentences - regarding Mary would have been very interesting. Overall an excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita L. Thompson Ojai, CA USA 03-30-13
    Anita L. Thompson Ojai, CA USA 03-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Turn of the century New York and working women."
    Where does Fever rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I am very happy to find novels, fiction or not, that deal with 19th century USA. Fever fits perfectly into this need to feel present in that past world. Candace Thaxton's delivery is very good at creating the individual characters and a very modern,at ease description of the city of New York at the turn of the century. I loved it. I felt I understood how it would be to walk down the lower East side of the city at that time. As a modern working woman, i also appreciate hearing a description of what a working woman of that time had to do to get and hold a job, even what types of jobs were available to women.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolene United States 03-29-13
    Jolene United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2011
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    "An interesting read about Typhoid Fever"

    It was a good read. Kept my interest and it was nice to learn about the average hourly worker in the early 19th century. "Modern Medicine" wasn't an easy pill to swallow for the average person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KELLY DAYTON, OH, United States 03-27-13
    KELLY DAYTON, OH, United States 03-27-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Wonderful book and wonderful narrator"
    What did you love best about Fever?

    I enjoyed every bit of this book! The narrator does a fabulous job with Mary's accent and defining all the characters! I really recommend this book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert K. Morris 07-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator ruins fine story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    To read, yes. Not to listen to with this narrator.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's re-creation of the times and certainly of the character of Typhoid Mary.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She pronounces "the" as "thuh," instead of "thee" before vowels. If you can live with this Hollywood affectation, then no problem in listening. It certainly is regarded as incorrect in English and American, grated on my ears every time, and quite ruined the reading.

    Very slight differentiation of male and female characters. Very poor attempt at accents, and very inconsistent when she used them.


    Did Fever inspire you to do anything?

    Write this notice, if it might be called "inspiration."


    Any additional comments?

    Yes. I think the narrator might be a good one if she practiced before reading the book and a good director took her in hand. I do blame the publisher, however, for producing the audio book, not her..

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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