The ballad of Typhoid Mary

Jürg Federspiel

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The ballad of Typhoid Mary

The ballad of Typhoid Mary For forty years she roamed New York like an angel of death A typhoid carrier herself immune but lethal to her unsuspecting victims Mary Mallon bore her disease over the thresholds and into the kitchen

  • Title: The ballad of Typhoid Mary
  • Author: Jürg Federspiel
  • ISBN: 9780233977065
  • Page: 261
  • Format: Hardcover
  • For forty years she roamed New York like an angel of death.A typhoid carrier herself immune but lethal to her unsuspecting victims Mary Mallon bore her disease over the thresholds and into the kitchens of the elite homes, hotels and hospitals of nineteenth century New York Always moving on before the authorities could catch up with her, she bought death to untold thouFor forty years she roamed New York like an angel of death.A typhoid carrier herself immune but lethal to her unsuspecting victims Mary Mallon bore her disease over the thresholds and into the kitchens of the elite homes, hotels and hospitals of nineteenth century New York Always moving on before the authorities could catch up with her, she bought death to untold thousands Yet her only crime was her refusal to give up her sole and deadly source of pleasure cooking.From the Typhoid Mary, JF Federspiel has created this bizarre and haunting novel.

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      Posted by:Jürg Federspiel
      Published :2018-06-17T03:54:27+00:00

    One thought on “The ballad of Typhoid Mary

    1. Steven Drachman on said:

      I've read this book a few times and have found it enigmatic and haunting. I think think that readers who enjoy books about 19th century New York, like Winters Tale or The Alienist would really like this one. Federspiel never wrote anything this good again (and didn't write very much at all), which I think explains why this book is mostly forgotten today, in spite of its acclaim back in 1983. It's too bad; it deserves to be rediscovered.

    2. Daniel on said:

      This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.5 of 5I bought this book when Ballantine Books first released this edition (that's not my book in the photo, but mine looks the same). I would have to admit that I was first drawn to the book by this magnificent cover (by Larry Schwinger?) and then by the subject matter. I was in my 'dark' period in the 80's - enjoying vampire stories and anything horror related (I was a little ahead of the times, I guess) and so a story about [...]

    3. Kathleen Hulser on said:

      Typhoid Mary a contemporary contaminationInvitation to a Dark RoastThe gradual veering of history away from the tales of yesterday’s kings towards the tales of yesterday’s serfs hasn’t left the telling of the tales themselves untouched. A passion for mixed truth and fiction has seized the literary hotshots of our day – and to weave their fictions taken from popular culture they are adopting the literary equivalent of junk materials already consecrated in the collage art of the 1910s and [...]

    4. Deborah Ideiosepius on said:

      A fascinating, beautifully written story based on the legend of Typhoid Mary.In this book Mary is an immigrant to New York in the nineteenth century. She arrived on a ship devastated by plague without being sick. She is a carrier in an era where medicine is primitive by our standards and carriers are not recognised. She strives to make a living in her new home, as a cook. She has a passion for cooking that is very unfortunate for a Typhoid carrier.That is the plot outline, but it was the deft wr [...]

    5. Kjsbreda on said:

      I picked up this novel on a whim and was greatly impressed with the author's sympathetic portrayal of the woman whose name became a byword for the spread of disease. The author meticulously researched New York City from 1865 through the first quarter of the twentieth century. He frequently gave context to the story by referring to landmarks, celebrities, discoveries and events of the time period. All of the major characters in the book are beautifully developed and the reader is made to see that [...]

    6. Joanna on said:

      A very short fictionalized account of Typhoid Mary's life in New York City. The story overlays a present day narrator telling the story of researching and writing the book with the underlying tale. The double narrative allows for the inclusion of historical fact about what else was happening in the world at the time, but overall felt stilted and detracted from Mary's story. The book also makes no effort to describe Mary's own feelings or thoughts, which seems like a wasted opportunity. That said [...]

    7. Ronald Wilcox on said:

      Surprisingly enjoyable "biography" loosely based on the known facts of Mary Mallon's life with a lot of fictional accounts to fill the space between the facts. Mary arrives in New York, coming as an orphan who just arrived on a transAtlantic ocean ship with about a 20% mortality rate among the passengers. She then starts getting those around her, such as her employers, sick with typhoid. As a physician I thought it enjoyable and worthy of reading just as an indication of medical services availab [...]

    8. Antonia on said:

      Well, this book was different. A historical fiction story about the woman Typhoid Mary, who spread (both unknowingly and unknowingly) typhus to potentially hundreds of people along the east coast and NYC. I wish the book had gone into more of her motives, her psyche, and how the situation affected her, although I suppose most of that would have to have been speculation. Still, as the book was fiction, I would have liked more of a psychological side to the story.

    9. Marigny777 on said:

      An overall odd combination of vladimir nabakov and erik larson???An easily accessible text on the typhoid mary phenomenon and the immigrant panic around the turn of the century. While the book was in reach of touching on some very interesting social problems such as the medicalization of deviance, it did not seem have the fortitude to follow the themes through. Still a fun read.

    10. Karen on said:

      I didn't realize it was fiction at first. A dying doctor spins little vignettes of the life he imagines Typhoid Mary has lived, and eventually reveals his specific world view. It's an anti-Horatio Alger novel, where rich obnoxious people get punished, but the poor never really manage to make good. The chapters are short and it's an easy read. I'm glad I stumbled across this book.

    11. Sarah Sammis on said:

      September 26, 2005 What an interesting book! While it is a fictionalized account of the events of Mary's life after she landed in New York, I come away from the book having learned quite a few things. For more information on typhoid fever check out the CDC site.

    12. Kally Künnap on said:

      Read this in German class It's a cool story and it's also written very well. Very short chapters but made it more interesting for me personally. Some characters were awfully odd (Mr.Spornberg, etc), but overall a quite good book. Doesn't take that long to read either.

    13. Darcia Scates on said:

      I loved reading this book. It inspired me to dig deeper into the historical context of the story. It was a good read. I highly recommend this book.

    14. Fishface on said:

      Haunting, elegaic biography of Marry Mallon, the infamous Typhoid Mary. Makes you almost -- sort of -- maybe -- understand why she did what she did.

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