The Fervor

Books on Tape. Apr. 2022. 10:13 hrs. ISBN 9780593552438. $76. HORROR
Japanese folklore and American World War II history blend together in the latest twisty, horror novel from Katsu (Red Widow). It is 1944 and strange balloons are falling in the Midwestern United States. Reporter Fran Gurstwold and her editor see one, and she takes pieces of it home with her. Preacher Archie Mitchell takes his wife Elsie and some neighborhood children on a picnic; they see a balloon and all but Archie are burned to death in a horrendous explosion. Meiko Briggs and her daughter Aiko are in a concentration camp for those of Japanese descent in Idaho, where a strange disease Meiko calls “The Fervor” is running rampant. What do they all have in common besides balloons? Tiny translucent spiders and sightings of the mythical Japanese kitsune demon. Narrator Traci Kato-Kiriyama is expressive and paces events well. She is especially moving when expressing Meiko’s sadness and pessimism about the United States. Louis Ozawa narrates very brief, intermittent chapters from the viewpoint of Meiko’s father.
VERDICT Katsu keeps the plot and questions moving in this intriguingly complicated horror story that offers many parallels to anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
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