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Fever by Deon Meyer


by Deon Meyer

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This post apocalyptic fiction was very slow paced. The narrative was told in disjointed fashion by journal entries and interviews. It turns out that community building is very boring to read about. I don't know whether the book ever gets beyond this because I gave up at the 25% point. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | May 16, 2018 |
Opening with the lines, “I want to tell you about my father’s murder. I want to tell you who killed him and why,” this noted South African author takes a good long while to get to the actual killing of Willem Storm, but he uses the time well.
The world has been devastated by the Fever—a new infectious disease that spreads rapidly and catastrophically. A few people have a genetic quirk that saves them, but 95 percent of the world’s population has died. Willem and his son Nico, hiding out in a remote South African cave, survive. The big challenge is “now what?”
Willem has a vision for what should come next. He and his son fill a tractor-trailer with useful items they find as they traverse the countryside. They aren’t the only survivors, of course, and food becomes increasingly hard to find. With a pre-Fever population of approximately 56 million, South Africa alone would have a residual population of 2.8 million.
How people react in such a desperate situation reveals their fundamental values. Willem Storm envisions a new egalitarian society built on democratic principles. He finds a suitable location, and he and Nico drive the countryside, leaving posters asking people of good will to come. Gradually, they do, and they name their new community Amanzi, “water.”
Teenage Nico is torn between his father’s idealism and the aggressive values of a new arrival in the community, Domingo. He has a past he won’t talk about, works with military precision, and an affinity for weapons. He consistently argues for more security precautions, because the threats are real—packs of wild dogs, marauding motorcycle gangs, and murderous thieves. “People are animals,” Domingo says.
Amanzi’s creation is an amazing adventure story. The book may be 530 pages long, but it is very hard (truly, almost impossible) to put down—at least for someone like me who is interesting in how things work, or don’t. Nico narrates most of it, though a great many other residents recount their experiences both before Amanzi and in the community, gradually building up a “360-degree” perspective on Willem, Domingo, Nico, and Amanzi. Only in the last 20 pages are the most horrifying crimes of the novel revealed, and these are the least satisfying pages of all.
If you are intrigued by the situations and challenges presented in post-apocalyptic thrillers like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Stephen King’s The Stand, this novel is sure to get you thinking. ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Apr 11, 2018 |
Great post apocalyptic tale with not only the story of the "Fever" but individual's stories of how the change in the world effected each of them.

This was one of the best cataclysmic sagas I have read and I've read a lot. Not only is it the story of the Fever and how it effected the world and a group of people but it is a story of hope, individuals creating a new life, ups and downs.

The main characters are father and son. Willem, father, is a dreamer, scientist and does not like violence of any kind. His dream was Amanzi. A new town, a new hope for the world. Nico is his son.
He is much more realistic than his father and knows that he is meant to be his father's protector.

The book is Nico's memoir and also the history of Amanzi. It starts when he is 13. ( )
  Diane_K | Jan 20, 2018 |
There have been plenty of end-of-world novels in recent years. Most of them are dark and depressing, showing humanity at its worst as the few survivors struggle to live and fight over the remaining limited resources. While they provide a warning as to how quickly society will turn on itself, they tend to rely on scare tactics and a pessimistic outlook to make their points. In his latest novel, Deon Meyer opts to stay away from similar patterns and forges his own story about a post-apocalyptic world. That novel, Fever, is not just exciting and suspenseful, as such novels tend to be, it is also hopeful, making it one of the better novels I have read all year.

While the novel appears to be about Nico and his coming-of-age in the new settlement established by his father for survivors, we learn from the first sentence of the novel that it really is about his father’s murder. Before we get to that point though, Mr. Meyer, through Nico, establishes the complete backstory so that when the event occurs, we understand the context and implications. It is a huge event in the settlement’s history and in Nico’s life, and Mr. Meyer gives it the careful attention it deserves. Without the established history, the murder would mean so much less to the reader. Plus, there is a whodunit factor that makes it fun to play along and test your theories.

The publisher calls Fever an epic, and it is a fitting description. The story is sweeping in its scope. Mr. Meyer takes his time establishing his characters and building the setting in which a majority of the novel occurs. Occurring over four years, we become part of Amanzi first as Willem encourages survivors to come together to build a new, better society and later as they struggle to overcome certain obstacles to the settlement’s survival. These obstacles cross the spectrum from environmental to political to human, and as they battle and survive each one, we become just a little more vested in their society. The characters take on a life of their own as well, as Willem’s rag-tag bunch of followers coalesces into a cohesive community. When this happens, their successes become our successes, their tragedies our own. The scope of the novel is ambitious. Under the wrong pen, the novel could easily fall apart, turning into a mess of characters and events with nothing to tie them together. Instead, Mr. Meyer deftly weaves the novel together, taking his time to develop and flesh out the details which in turn makes the story come alive.

Given everything Nico witnesses and experiences, it would be easy to say that the story is about bad people and good people fighting against each other to stay alive. The funny thing is though that as Amanzi begins to thrive, through hard work, dedication, and the talent of its citizens, that clear line between good and bad begins to fade. It is easy to vilify a group of individuals who does nothing more than scavenge, especially when their scavenging comes with violence against those who have the items they want/need. What Nico comes to learn, and later shows, is that there is a fine line between good and bad and that sometimes it all comes down to perspective. It is an interesting lesson to learn, especially as the entire globe struggles with growing ideological divides and a growing trend of dividing the world into us versus them.

Excellent novels have a way of drawing you into the story and making you forget they are fictional. Through well-developed characters and an attention to detail that is exacting and yet interesting, you become part of the novel. Fever does just that. You are standing vigil with Nico as he shares his past adventures, thoughts, and feelings during the four year period between first settling down and his father’s murder. You are with him as he makes his first shot. You are beside him as he acknowledges his unreasonable teenage behavior even while it is happening. You are next to him as he learns about his father’s death. His grief becomes your grief. His anger yours. To the point where you forget what is real and what is not. It takes several minutes upon halting a reading session to remember who you are as well as where you are. It takes a special novel for this to occur every time you take a break in reading, but Fever is one of the rare few that has that ability to capture and hold a reader’s total attention and imagination and completely block out the rest of the world.

Suffice it to say, Fever is an excellent novel. It is fresh and exciting; the focus on strangers coming together to build something good and lasting is not just refreshing but needed. In today’s political environment, we need stories that remind us that humans are good, that we can work together, that we can compromise and find common ground. Fever fills that void. An added bonus is the careful way in which Mr. Meyer builds the mystery of Willem’s murder, allowing this key event to occur in chronological order rather than upfront. The lack of flashback, if you will, means that you never forget what will happen, and you begin to look at each character and every event with the air of a detective trying to solve a crime before it happens. This only enhances a reader’s interest in the story at large, making it exciting and suspenseful as well as hopeful.

Fever has a little bit of everything to please a wide range of readers. It does not cross genres so much as it incorporates different elements. There is the dystopian feel from the life-ending virus that wipes out almost everyone plus the lonely landscape with few survivors. There is the sociological and political elements of establishing and maintaining a new community. There is the action and suspense that comes with defending that community. Plus you have Nico’s emotional turmoil, as he tells the story from his teenage perspective. It may be hefty in length, but the story is so engrossing that the length becomes a non-issue. Fever is a genuinely good story backed up by fantastic characters and some of the best world-building one will get, making this a must-read for any who enjoy this type of story.
  jmchshannon | Oct 25, 2017 |
A mysterious illness swept across the world, killing off 95% of the population. Months after the disaster peaked, 13 year old Nico Storm and his father, Willem, drive across the blighted landscape of South Africa, trying to survive in a new and terrifying world. Coming to a small town with hydroelectric power equipment still intact, Nico’s father dreams of creating an ideal, rational society out of the ashes of the old world. The community grows and so do its enemies. Loyalty, honor, and optimism must wage a war against fascism, zealotry, and violence.

This is an epic book, as the post-apocalyptic genre lends itself to. The book spans years, from Nico and Willem’s first days scavenging, through to the development and success of the community that they establish. The book’s true focus is not necessarily on the post apocalyptic world, but rather on the nature of humankind itself. The book is written from Nico’s perspective, and focuses on the defining moment of his life: the murder of his father. By unwinding the story of the post-fever world and the development of a utopian community, we unravel the events which led to Willem Storm’s assassination.

This is a very human novel. There are no monsters or mutants here to provide danger, simply people. In that regard, the book strongly reminds me of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The tension and suspense come not from creepy-crawlies out to eat our protagonists, but the very very scary question about what will triumph in a global catastrophe. Will “the better angels of our nature” win the day, or will they fall to the petty evilness that lurks in the human psyche? I think it is this question which makes the post-apocalyptic genre so compelling. Can we put our faith in human nature?

This book was well written and grand in scale. The South African setting provided a new point of view for me over here in the United States. Anyone with a love for post-apocalyptic tales should check out this book.

An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  irregularreader | Sep 23, 2017 |
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"Nico Storm and his father Willem drive a truck filled with essential supplies through a desolate land. They are among the few in South Africa -- and the world, as far as they know -- to have survived a devastating virus which has swept through the country. Their world turned upside down, Nico realizes that his superb marksmanship and cool head mean he is destined to be his father's protector, even though he is still only a boy. But Willem Storm, though not a fighter, is both a thinker and a leader, a wise and compassionate man with a vision for a new community that survivors will rebuild from the ruins. And so Amanzi is founded and the community grows -- and with each step forward, as resources increase, so do the challenges they must face -- not just from the attacks of biker brigands, but also from within. As Nico undergoes an extraordinary rite of passage in this new world, he experiences hardship and heartbreak and has his loyalty tested to its limits."--… (more)

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