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A bold, mesmerizingly told story about the woman known as 'Typhoid Mary' and once described as 'the most dangerous woman in America'.They called her Typhoid Mary. They believed she was sick, that she was passing typhoid fever from her hands to the food that she served. They said she should have known. But Mary wasn't sick. She hadn't done anything wrong. She wasn't arrested right away. There were warnings. Requests. And when she was finally taken, she did not go quietly. Branded a murderer and condemned by press and public alike, Mary continued to fight for her freedom, no matter the cost. Mary Beth Keane's fictional account presents us with a very cleverly wrought conundrum: was Mary Mallon a selfish monster or a hounded innocent?'Mary Beth Keane is one of those gifted young writers who helps me believe --still! --in the power of literature' Colum McCann'Typhoid Mary is a sensational subject, but the strength of this novel is that it bears patient witness to an ordinary human life. Engrossing and wonderfully compassionate' Shelley Harris, Richard & Judy bestselling author of Jubilee'Keane has very cleverly put flesh on the bogeywoman whom the press dubbed Typhoid Mary ...Disturbing and compelling' The Times'Medical history's ultimate bad girl was Mary Mallon, the Irish cook who refused to concede that she might be a typhoid carrier, in spite of the trail of death that followed her. A fascinating turn of the last century-set medical cat-and-mouse story, Mary Beth Keane's Fever summons sympathy for the contrary personality at its center, a self-made immigrant grappling with work and love, dignity and denial' Vogue'Mary Beth Keane inhabits Typhoid Mary in the infectiously readable Fever' Vanity Fair
Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by 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 from 1907 to 1910, 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.
Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in the west of Ireland until she found herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister Johanna and a boy named Michael Ward. Greta discovers that in America she can fall in love, raise her own family, and earn a living.Though she longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself, her decision to spare her children knowledge of a secret in her past forces her to keep her life in New York separate from the life she once loved in Ireland, and tears her from the people she holds closest. Even fifty years later, when the Ireland of her memory bears little resemblance to that of the present day, she fears that it is still possible to lose all when she discovers that her children-with the best of intentions-have conspired to unite the worlds she's so carefully kept separate for decades.A beautifully old-fashioned novel, The Walking People is a debut of remarkable range and power.