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, drawing Storm's -homeless and tempest-tost---starting with Melinda Swanevelder, whom they rescued from brutal thugs; Hennie Flaai, with his vital Cessna plane; Beryl Fortuin, with her ragtag group of orphans; and Domingo, the man with the tattooed hand, whom Nico knows immediately is someone you want on your side. And then there is Sofia Bergman, the most beautiful girl that Nico has ever seen, who changes everything.
So 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. Looking back later in life, he recounts the events that led to the greatest rupture of all--the hunt for the murderer of the person he loves most.
An exhilarating new standalone from the author of the internationally bestselling Benny Griessel thriller series, Fever is a gripping epic like nothing else Meyer has written before.
Deon Meyer was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province.
After military duty and studying at the Potchefstroom University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, web manager, Internet strategist, and brand consultant.
Deon wrote his first book when he was 14 years old, and bribed and blackmailed his two brothers into reading it. They were not impressed (hey, everybody is a critic ...) Deon Meyer
Heeding their wisdom, he did not write fiction again until he was in his early thirties, when he started publishing short stories in South African magazines.
"I still believe that is the best way to learn the craft of writing. Short stories teach you a lot about story structure - and you have limited space to develop character and plot," says Deon.
In 1994 he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated, "simply because it was not good enough to compete on the international market. However, it was a wonderful learning experience".
All later novels have been translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.
Deon lives in Melkbosstrand on the South African West Coast with his wife, Anita, and they have four children to keep them busy: Lida, Liam, Johan and Konstanz.
Other than his family, his big passions are motorcycling, music (he is a Mozart fanatic, but loves rock 'n roll too), reading, cooking and rugby (he unconditionally supports the national Springbok team and the Free State Cheetahs provincial team).
A quick spreading virus - The Fever - proved exceptionally lethal. Leaving millions...make that billions dead around the world.
There are numerous post-apocalyptic books on the market, but what makes this one distinctly different is the perspective from which it’s told, through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy, Nico. He and his father Willem find themselves wondering through the barren land in South Africa, faced with the epic struggle of putting down roots and re-establishing civilization. (No pressure!) One fateful day the boy discovers his father Willem is no longer his protector, their roles have flipped, and now it’s up to young Nico to protect his father. A coming of age story in a post-apocalyptic world.
There is an endless struggle for control and power in their new village. The back-and-forth demand for protection vs retaliation. Those that want to live and flourish in peace, and those looking to steal and exploit at will. Sadly, the timeless destiny of mankind, right?
It’s a very long, slow and deliberate read. Taking you through the first four years following the fever. It is written mostly from Nico's POV, but interspersed with recordings from the town's History Project. My only negative was that the ending seemed to wrap up a little too quickly for me after investing that much time in this book.
Thank you to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic and Deon Meyer for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
On the cover of the book it says "Reminiscent of 'the Stand' and 'The Passage'. Great stuff." - Stephen King. There may be some parallel, but for one there are no supernatural elements in "Fever" and for another, this book is far better than either of the other two. I declare this the best fictional read of the year.
The setting is in a world where more than 90% of the population has succumbed to a deadly disease. There is hardly anyone left. The wildlife that was so threatened is returning quickly and feral dogs hunt in packs. In this world Willem Storm has a vision of creating a free and fair new society for himself and his 16-year old son Nico. They encounter Hennie Fly, that distribute flyers from his Cessna. Amanzi was founded.
The new little society suffers from all sorts of practical issues. Food and warmth being the most prominent, particularly in the first year. When this is no longer an issue, there is the threat from motor cycle gangs that loot and pillage. There is also internal conflicts between the founder Willem Storm and a fanatic pastor. The true back-bone of the community, that refuse to run for any sort of political post, is Domingo. He is responsible for security and Nico's hero.
The story is incredibly well told. The main voice is that of Nico reminiscing about the early years after Fever. However, the voices of all the main characters and many of the minor ones, are told as the "Amanzi history project" recordings. They give a wider perspective and insight. Life after society as we know it has crumbled is very different. The social veneer has been ripped off and reveals that humans are just animals underneath.
This review falls way short of the glorious ride that this book was for me. I have never read such a well-crafted end-of-the-world story that has so much to say about our lives now. The plotting is done with an unsurpassable sleight of hand. Despite all the little hints, I did not have any incling of what the ending would bring. I still haven't recovered my breath after that punch in my guts.
My brother in law sait of this book that "I want to forget it so that I can read it again". I share the sentiment. What a ride. What a book! You do not want to miss out on this one.
"We are animals....domesticated, social animals, thin veneer of civilisation. Gentle creatures if the world is fine, if the social conditions are undisturbed and normal. But if you disturb the conditions, then that veneer wears off. Then we go feral, we turn into predators, killers, we hunt in packs. Then we become just like the dogs."
What an incredibly thrilling -- though frightening-- story! A new and highly contagious virus sweeps across the world, killing off 95% of humans. Nico and his father are among the survivors, travelling in an abandoned truck to find a place they can try to rebuild their lives . Eventually they find other survivors and begin a new community. Nico tells the story much later in his life and the book is mainly his POV. Tells of the early days of the community, trying to rebuild civilisation after it has collapsed. Explores how people react when their world has been turned upside down. Interspersed throughout are interviews with some of the other survivors. I think for the most part those could have been left out and only made the novel drag at times. This is one reason why I'm rating this 4 stars instead of 5.
Fever is introspective but also full of action. Deon Meyer is a gifted storyteller and reeled me in with the very first paragraph. It's a difficult book to put down, with excellent writing and descriptions. It's philosophical at times too, which I loved. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending; it almost feels like the author only decided at the end HOW he was going to end it, and then went back and inserted some details to make it look like that's the direction he was going in all along. It's not a bad ending, it just didn't flow with the rest of the book. (This is the other reason I'm rating this 4 and not 5 stars.)
Still though, Fever is an incredibly good novel and I highly recommend it to fans of pandemics and post-apocalyptic scenarios.
Wow. The last couple hundred pages had me on a knife-edge. One of the best post-apocalyptic dystopias I have ever read, with a uniquely South African flavour. The writing is cadenced, and the narrative appears to trickle along. But what Meyer is doing so cleverly in the background is allowing the reader to enter the living-and-breathing reality of his characters. And falling in love with them, so their fates become engrained on our hearts. Magnificent.
The basic premise - survivors band together to rebuild society after a worldwide pandemic wipes out most of humanity - is well-worn territory by now. What makes Fever different enough to be worth your time?
In post-pandemic stories like The Stand or The Passage, there’s generally a ‘rebuild’ section. Just “hanging out in the Boulder Free Zone, trying to get the lights back on”, that kind of thing. I always want more time in this phase, the rebuild, working out the practicalities of this new life, examining the ways in which new bonds are forged between a group of motley (and somewhat traumatised) strangers. This is where Fever spends most of its time. The establishment of community is the core of this book, the heart of the story, not just background logistics.
The South African setting adds so much richness to the physical environment - evocative descriptions of the veld, the odd encounter with jackals, lions or kudu etc - as well as fascinating layers of social complexity to the survivor groups.
And while Fever is a fast-paced, suspenseful read throughout, with several thrilling action sequences, there is also a lot of reflection going on. When the settlement's founder starts spouting from Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, you know the author wants to make you think, as well as feel.
Ultimately though, what really made Fever stand out for me was its optimism. So many books in the post-apocalyptic genre are bleak, bleak, bleak. This one places a ton of trust in human resilience, ingenuity and cooperation. It’s just so nice to not be looking at the worst-case scenario all the time. That hopeful tone is refreshing and makes for a cracking survival adventure story.
4.5 sterre. Dit was so lekker om iets anders as die gewone speur storie in Afrikaans te lees. Daar was verskeie dinge waarvan ek gehou het: Eerstens gee dit mens so warm gevoel om van jou eie land te lees, en die plekke te ken wat beskryf word, tweedens die storielyn - ek was heeltyd op die punt van my stoel, en ek kon myself net met moeite wegskeur van die boek af, en dan ook natuurlik die karakters. Soos The Stand, het Koors 'n groot aantal uiteenlopende karakters, mense wat mekaar tien teen een nooit sou ontmoet het in 'n normale wereld nie, wat nou saam moet leef. Soos in alle post-apokaliptiese verhale sien ons hoe verskillende mense reageer op hierdie nuwe begin, en soos altyd is daar the good, the bad and the ugly. Deon Meyer se navorsing en skryfstyl is uit die boonste rakke, en die enigste rede hoekom ek nie die boek 'n volle vyf sterre gee nie, is oor die einde. Dit voel bietjie te "young adult" vir my, en daar was ook nog onbeantwoorde vrae, maar dit was definitief nog steeds een van my gunsteling Afrikaanse boeke wat ek al gelees het.
I have to say I had my ups and downs with this book. Sometimes The story really got me; other times I felt a bit bored. It sometimes felt like some parts were too exhaustive. But then the action started again and you were again in full anticipation of the outcome. This outcome has a real climax to it and was a bit unexpected. So I hesitate between 3 or 4 stars... but I'll make it a 4.
Apocalyptic fiction is probably my favorite genre, so when I read the synopsis of Fever, I knew I had to read it. I was extremely delighted to discover how much I enjoyed this book.
In this story, 90% of the world's population catches the Fever and dies. Nico and his father, Willem, survive and about a year or so later, Willem starts a settlement in South Africa. We have the usual mix of shell shocked survivors who rebuild and bring us along for the ride. And yes, you have the dregs of society in this story as well. But for the most part, this story is about hope and community, and love, which is really the type of apocalyptic story I want to read.
I really connected with Nico and the love and respect he has for his father, his adopted brother, and for Domingo. We see that each person has their flaws but, yet, I have great admiration for them all. I loved seeing how their community started with just a location and no people but ends up growing quickly to become one of the larger established towns that ends up flourishing. In most apocalyptic tales, you only see the very dark sides of the apocalypse. If an apocalyptic event ever really happens and somehow I manage to end up surviving, I hope I find a community similar to this one!
The location and people of South Africa in this story was a surprising bonus. Although not as epic as The Stand, or Swan Song, and with no supernatural elements, Fever is one of my favorite reads of 2017. If you liked either of the books mentioned above, I urge you to pick up Fever.
Vor Urzeiten habe ich bereits irgendeinen Roman von Deon Meyer gelesen.....dieser hat so viel Nachhall bei mir hinterlassen, dass ich nicht einmal mehr weiß, wie der Buchtitel lautete....
Neulich las ich Frank Schätzings Sachbuch: "Was wenn wir einfach die Welt retten" (was mir ehrlich gesagt nicht sehr gut gefiel...) und dort im Vorwort schwärmt der Thriller König und "Schwarm" Autor nun von "Fever"....
Gekauft, gelesen und final begeistert worden....
Willem Storm irrt mit seinem 12jährigen Sohn Nico durch das postapokalyptische Südafrika. Nach einer weltweiten Pandemie durch ein Fieber hervorgerufen durch Coronaviren (das Buch erschien 2016!!!) sind 90 Prozent der Bevölkerung tot....die Infrastruktur ist zusammengebrochen, marodierende Biker Gangs plündern und morden, hungrige Hunde Meuten reißen ihre Opfer.... Willem gründet eine Siedlung f��r Überlebende auf Basis philosophisch demokratischer Werte.... Die immer größer werdende Gruppe hat mit unendlich vielen Problemen zu kämpfen....Essen, Kraftstoff und andere Ressourcen sind knapp....aber es "menschelt" auch sehr in der Gemeinschaft .... Viele folgen den pazifistischen Grundsätzen des Vorsitzenden....aber nicht alle...
Ein Endzeit Epos, das mich wirklich begeistert hat! Tief angelegte Charaktere, ein außergewöhnlicher Plot und eine vielschichtige Sprache.....
Dieses Buch habe ich mir aus einem Impuls heraus gekauft, da es in der Buchhandlung heruntergesetzt war und mich postapokalyptische-Geschichten immer schon interessiert haben.
Dass es am Ende um ein Coronavirus geht, hat mich dann doch sehr überrascht und es war schon ein wenig komisch, das in der jetzigen Zeit zu lesen.
Ich kann nicht viel negatives über das Buch sagen. Der Lesefluss ist gut, die Geschichte wird nie langweilig und ist immer interessant. Die Figuren sind allesamt "lebendig" und haben distinktive Charakterzüge.
Abgesehen davon, dass es nicht viele (oder kaum) Stellen gab, die sprachlich besonders eindrucksvoll waren. Die Geschichte wurde einfach grundsolide erzählt.
Ich gebe dem Buch 3,5 Sterne und runde das in diesem Fall einfach auf 4 Sterne auf, da es mir letztendlich doch gut gefallen hat.
Many have read books with a similar basic premise, but of those I've read this story is the more well-rounded, insightful, and informative. The post apocalyptic suspense/thriller/mystery plot-line wasn't what impressed me, especially the ending which I generally foresaw. What impressed me was the realistic human behaviors, and the insightful natural world effects of the catastrophic event.
As but a simple example relative to the few remaining trying to survive:
"Yes, . . . all the drama started by all those companies who genetically engineered seeds. It’s not as if they thought, hang on, what happens in case of a global catastrophe, what happens in a post-apocalyptic world? They modified their seeds so that you could only harvest once. Then you had to eat them, because you couldn’t plant the seed from the first crop, they were programmed to fail. You had to buy new seed. Beautiful business model, but then all those companies were gone with the wind, but the seeds remained."
Reading parts like that I thought of all the blind corporate chicanery where the top executives and investors are so intent on lining their pockets in the short term they couldn't care less about John Q. Public.
And some thoughts about biodiversity and ecology that sustains our environment:
"Then Meklein said he thought the Fever came because people were hurting the earth so badly. He said, with a coughing fit for every sentence, ‘Vytjie, when last did you see a gompou?’ He was talking about the kori bustard, that’s what we called it, a gompou. He said, ‘It’s been years, but we used to see a lot more of those big birds long ago. Remember the black eagles, when we were young? There were so many. Remember the bakoortjies, how often we saw them in the old days? Those little bat-eared foxes are termite eaters, scorpion eaters, but the people thought they caught lambs. They never did. You don’t see them any more. So many things you don’t see any more. The old people hurt the earth, a lot."
Oh, and loads of character types:
"The pastor is an opportunist, like all good politicians and preachers. And this was the perfect opportunity. If we’d been paying attention, we would have seen this coming. . . . ‘Einstein said: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Now I understand what he meant." . . . "Yeah, of course I hated too. Facebook most of all, if you have to know. Facebook. Hated it. For me that was the epitome of what was wrong with society. ’Cause why, you’ve got all these friends, but they’re not real friends, just people you can post photos for, of your breakfast and your lunch and your cute kitty. I ask you. Like they really cared. They only cared because they needed you as an audience. Facebook friends were an audience, that’s all."
Who knows, maybe something in this book will spark a questioning thought in the heads of those reading the book simply for entertainment and titillation :-)
Fever doesn't actually go into much detail about the pandemic that radically reduces world population, but instead takes a micro-view of the rebuilding process.
Told retrospectively, the now middle-aged protagonist, Nico, relates the story of how the community of Amanzi came to be in the years after the Fever.
There aren't extreme villains or heroes, just people, some of whom do extreme things in extraordinary circumstances. The story doesn't seek to bring something new to the table, but instead focuses on the story of people, of family, and community, as we all know it.
Aren't you also amazed by what we're capable of? Look at our journey, Homo Sapiens' journey, look at how incredibly far we've come, from savannah prey to a robot on Mars and the splitting of the atom and the decoding of DNA. And democracy, reason and rationalism. Science above superstition, facts above myth.
And...there are the inevitable other sides to this perspective, this faith in the ability of people to ultimately come together, the unshakeable belief that reason will triumph. The other sides are predictable, mainly because (let's be honest) people are predictable. The great flaw of human nature, the inability to be satisfied, causes all kinds of problems.
But what do you do? It's that same lack of satisfaction that motivates people to do better, to push harder, to learn more. It complicates community building, but also keeps people working at it.
I enjoyed this very much. Fever is a nice addition to a growing number of books that tell the story of what happens after a collapse event, as people try to rebuild the connections they have lost.
The Storms have been left adrift after most of the world dies from the Fever. As they travel through South Africa Willem cultivates a vision for a new community, one where his son Nico can live like a human being and not a savage. As survivors flood into Amanzi they must survive challenges from marauders but also from within...
When I saw how many pages this was I wondered if I was crazy!? At 544 pages it tops out as pretty hefty, BUT THIS WAS SO GOOD! (If you look at my ratings the only downer was the cover and the title. I didn't hate the title but it is totally humble in the face of how GREAT this book is... Also the cover isn't bad at all but again it doesn't really say much except that it is a dystopian book. PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN IF YOU READ THIS... note read my warning at the end of my review...)
THE POV!! Nico made the best, most perfect POV character for this story! I don't think it would have worked nearly as well if there were multiple POVs or if it was from an adult's perspective. One of the few kinds of adult books that I enjoy are ones with young adult protagonists. The world is dark and conflicted but we still get to see things through a more upbeat and hopeful tone. Nico really provided this POV. At it's heart this was a coming of age story to rival coming of age stories! I really enjoyed it and if you are a post apocalyptic fan like I am then you'll enjoy this book too even if you normally only read YA fiction!
NICO'S RELATIONSHIPS!! There is this extremely developed relationship with his father that I SO identified with... Willem is a polymath. He knows a little about everything and seeks out learning and knowledge from "experts." He is a total pacifist in a time when pacifism will get you killed literally. Then there is Domingo... the man with a tattoo on his hand and SOOOO much swagger in his step. He believes in a benevolent dictatorship but is willing to stay out of it if he's allowed to AGGRESSIVELY protect the community. These two father figures create this tension and conflict in Nico as he maneuvers from a 13 year old boy to a 17 year old young man. Do we fight or do we hide? What do we do when there are too many people to protect? How much is TOO much fight in such a lawless time?
THE CHARACTERS!! Then there is Betyl and Sofia, no two woman could be the more opposite of each other but they play a HUGE role in Nico's world... And OMG Okkie!! Can I have him for my LITTLE BROTHER! These were the major ones but there are so many more!! Hennie, Pastor Nkosi, Nero and Birdy... The thing that blew me away about the characters was that they felt like people who LIVED for themselves and not the main character!! We got a glimpse into their lives like one does with the people we live with but there was MORE than just what we needed to know for Nico's POV to be fleshed out!!
THE WORLD!! The world building is the best type of world building... it arises naturally from the things that Nico interacts with... developed with the right balance of SHOWING and TELLING... I LOVED it and because of the developed plot we got a FULL sense of the world after the Fever. In a YA book you get this sense that book worlds aren't how the REAL world are... this book is the exact opposite... you get this sense that THIS IS HOW IT WOULD BE if a fever swept through the world. Yet it's not so dark and grim that I want to kill myself reading it... I liked that by the end we understand the odd happenings with the west coast survivors. We understand the pastor and his motivations. Willem and his choices as a parent are enlightened to us. And all shown in the most NATURAL way!! The setting of South Africa was used in a SMART way that doesn't surprise me with how well developed and written this book is. I felt like it wasn't a gimmick but it was where they lived, where the fever happened to them but it also played a part in the plot. WOW!
The DEVELOPMENT!! The Amanzi History Project was one of the smartest developments by the author... We get these rich stories from the POV of individual characters that DO NOT interrupt Nico's POV but which enrich the world and give us tidbits we need for the overall story. The WRITING really shone through here. ANY of these characters could have been the POV character and it would have been a rich and individual story! I felt like EACH ONE OF THEM were real people sharing their experiences. The ability to use detail to make each character stand on their own really blew my mind... It was incredible, particularly later when you are starved for what is happening out side Amanzi.
Another incredible WRITING and STORYTELLING technique was how he used a memoir format to the story. The development of various parts of the story kept it moving but wasn't a gimmick. He moved forward and back through time in a way where you weren't told too much but became incredibly earnest to know more. To understand how Nico KNOWS so well why he regrets... why he feels! There were a couple of slow moments in the beginning as you wanted to get on with forming Amanzi and seeing where that took Nico... Otherwise in this HUGE tome of a book I wasn't bored AT ALL! The second half of the book is particularly raring to go a mile a minute! With tension and problems arising. At one point on the book we go back and forth between two POVs (through the history project) and it is SPOT ON for that moment!! WOW!
One warning I'll give you is that this is a slice of life story rather than an action and adventure tale. The plot is well developed and when an experience is shared IT IS COMPELLING!! I can list every single event in the book off the top of my head... YES THEY WERE THAT GOOD! But there were many pages devoted to the passage of time... to the development of the community... to the influx of different groups of survivors. To the coming of age changes and development in Nico. It felt like a memoir and it read like a life.
For a standalone dystopia to be so well written... I HIGHLY suggest EVERYONE read this book. It has all the makings of a CLASSIC!!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Feelings
BOTTOM LINE: A dystopian standalone that should go down as a classic.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
I read a fair amount of post-apocalyptic fiction, mostly the kind that leans towards horror. I usually read this genre during summer because, for some reason, heat puts me in the mood for a good apocalypse. I've had Fever on my TBR for ages, so when I found the audiobook on Hoopla, I knew I couldn't wait for summer to give it a go.
As usual, I went in knowing virtually nothing about this book, so I was pretty surprised to find that it is far different from every other post-apocalypse book I've ever read. Because I don't often stray far from horror, I'm used to reading books that deal with a) the events that lead up to an apocalyptic event or b) a narrative of how people survive during and/or shortly after said event takes place.
Fever is different. This books takes place after the world has already gone to shit, when just enough time has passed and just enough dust has settled for those capable to start seeing a clear and viable future.
This book is not about the horror of an apocalypse, but rather, the beauty in life afterwards.
Our protagonist is a young boy named Nico Storm who's father, Willem, is one of those people who can see that clear and viable future AND he has a plan on how to get there. And that's exactly what this book is about.
But it's also about so much more than that. Honestly, more than I even want to attempt to get into because it is quite layered and complex, but goddamn this story was good.
Not only is the story here really good, but Nico's perspective is very compelling, relatable, and interesting. We watch him grow up with the new world in a way that speaks to all people from all places and all points in time.
I don't want to forget to mention that Deon Meyer is from South Africa and wrote this book in Afrikaans. Not one single time while reading this did I even have an inkling that this was a translated book, so bravo to whoever did it so seamlessly and beautifully.
Lastly, the end of this book took a turn for left field that I absolutely wasn't expecting... and I absolutely loved it!! I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil anything, but things got a bit WILD at the end, but not unbelievably so. Like, I didn't need a twist at the end to keep in invested, so when it came I was legit shocked.
Deon Meyer's Fever is SO GOOD. If you like post-apocalyptic fiction of any kind, please give this one a try. I think it will speak to a lot of people and it is definitely a voice that should be heard loud and clear.
I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.
You might like this if you like: complex, compelling narratives, believable characters, and believing in lights at the end of dark tunnels.
I am a dedicated Deon Meyer fan. I have never read a book by him that I didn't love. Fever is a departure from his usual genre of crime thriller. Here Mr Meyer steps into the realm of science fiction. A worldwide pandemic wipes out 90% of all humans. The ensuing chaos and breakdown of civilisation means survivors of the Fever are by no means assured of surviving the ensuing aftermath. People from diverse backgrounds come together to rebuild, in a country previously defined by differences and segregation. Others come together to kill, rape, pillage and spread fear. Fever tells the tale of one family, determined to begin afresh.
I'm afraid it just didn't work for me. It is a long, winding, tale told partly through first person narration and partly through transcripts from biographical recordings. The pace is slow and meandering and the story is rife with wordy explanations of concepts/word origins/historical facts by the narrator's (Nico Storm's) father (Willem), which slows the pace even more. I usually read a Deon Meyer book in one sitting - two at most. This one required a slog of nearly two weeks. I put it down too often to get really invested in the characters and had no emotional reaction to the dramatic tear-jerker moments.
It's not a terrible read by any means. There are some decent action-packed episodes and an element of suspense regarding the death of Nico's father. The majority of the characters are believable and well-written, although it must be said that the diversity buck seems to stop at race. I mention this, because a large motivation for Willem Storm is the creation of a diverse and equal new world. No rich or poor, etc. However, in a community of over 5000, it is said that there is one muslim and apparently one atheist, possibly two. And two people are suspected of being gay, but closeted, and are gossiped about more than once. He because he has a thing for nice clothes and she because she used to be a pro golfer and is muscular. Stereotype much? So the point about a community of diverse peoples united, made so strongly in a moving speech by Willem, is negated by the lack of genuine visible diversity in all areas he mentions: "tribe and clan, by colour and race, by legislation and religion, by language and culture, by our divergent economic realities and by our ideologies."
Ultimately I just found it to be too wordy. I kept thinking it would be a cracking comic series or graphic novel, along the lines of The Walking Dead. A never ending commentary on how people react and survive after a pandemic wipes out civilisation as we know it. And a picture can replace a thousand words. That would definitely work.
Which brings me to the ending. A big, not really dramatic, reveal and then it's simply over. Within a few pages. After a build-up of over 500 pages. And so many loose ends pertaining a very large plot driver that is left unresolved. Is Mr Meyer purposefully leaving scope for a series perhaps? Regardless, it felt forced and not believable. And disappointing. Like a massive firework that simply pops and fizzles out instead of exploding in an enormous kaleidoscope of light and colour.
Fever has it's moments. It's okay. But I long for the next Deon Meyer crime thriller.
Thank you to the publisher, author, and netgalley for an advance copy. This is an honest review.
As the blurb states, the reader is taken to a post-apocalyptic world, where 90% of the world’s population have died from a newly emerged virus, and more from subsequent murders, suicides etc. Specifically, the setting is South Africa, and at the outset of the book our narrator, Nico Storm, is a 13-year-old survivor travelling with his father Willem. The latter founds a community of survivors, which is also an attempt to build an ideal society. Gradually their numbers increase, with a mix of skills that results in a thriving small town, but they and other settled communities are threatened by marauding biker gangs who live by plunder. There’s certainly a feeling of the film “Mad Max 2” in respect of that element.
I’ve read a few Deon Meyer novels before, enough for me to know that at his best he’s a top-class thriller writer, so when I decide to read one of his books I’m looking for a (well written) page turner. With that expectation hanging over this novel, I’d have to say I found the first third a bit slower than I anticipated. The author uses this time to build the plot, introducing the various characters as they arrive at the settlement, and describing how the town and the new society develop. After that it well and truly grabbed my attention, and I absolutely raced through the second half of the book. The ending stretched my credulity a little bit, more in the detail than in the general idea. I’m happy to put that down to novelist’s licence.
Die basiese konsep van die storie mag dalk nie heeltemal oorspronklik wees nie maar Deon Meyer omskep dit in iets oorspronklik met veelsydige en unieke karakters.
‘n Globale siekte, ‘n koors, het 95% van die wereld bevolking uitgewis. Willem Storm en sy seun Nico is een van die oorlewendes en moet leer om te bly leef in ‘n wereld waar wilde honde en looters jou sal doodmaak vir ‘n stukkie kos.
Willem slaag daarin om ‘n gemeenskap van oorlewendes te vestig aan die Vanderkloofdam. Hierdie nuwe oasis, Amanzi, word ‘n baken in hierdie donker tyd. Maar ook ‘n onweerstaanbare teiken vir meer ongure karakters.
Hierdie is ‘n bielie van ‘n boek maar hoe nader ek aan die einde gekom het hoe stadiger het ek probeer lees om die ondervindingg so lank as moontlik uit te rek.
Die storie is intellegent geskryf en wys hoe ‘n gemeenskap en beskawing van die grond af gebou kan word maar dit beeld ook die verhouding tussen Nico en sy pa met deernis en geloofwaardigheid uit.
Die storie verloor nooit sy draad nie, die spanning hou nooit op nie en ek het opgeeindig om ‘n paar naels stomp af te kou.
Hierdie is definitief een van die lekkerste boeke wat ek hierdie jaar nog gelees het
Le titre original, en afrikaans, "Koors", et en anglais, "Fever", traduit bien mieux l'objet du récit que le poétique titre choisi en français. Un détail. Comme Thilliez (Pandemia), que j'avais lu avec passion, mais aussi, wikipedia me l'a appris, Dean Koontz et Fred Vargas (à inscire dans mes projets de lecture), le sud-africain Meyer raconte avant la pandémie que nous avons vécue, que nous vivons encore, même si le fléau semble (mieux) géré, les effets d'un conona-virus qui a décimé 95% de la population mondiale, peu avant "le nôtre". Thriller sous forme du récit d'un survivant, une espèce de journal, témoignage des rescapés d'une communauté qui a réussi, dans la douleur, la guerre de gangs vandales meurtiers, à reconstruire un monde en miniature. Sous l'impulsion de Willem, un homme sage, savant, philosophe, courageux, désireux de transmettre à son fils Nico une nouvelle vie, meilleure. Narration de ce fils. Le journal peut sembler fastidieux mais il mérite l'effort de le déchiffrer intégralement. Tout oppose le fils et le père. Ils s'aiment tous les deux, le père exprime son amour immense pour ce fils, adolescent au moment de l'aventure épique, qui, lui, reste perpétuellement écartelé entre amour et haine envers ce père. Le fils veut savoir (je ne dévoile rien, Meyer l'annonce dès les premières pages) qui a assassiné son père, ce père le nez toujours dans les étoiles mais d'une exceptionnelle efficacité dans la reconstruction de sa tribu. Multiples possibilités: le pasteur plutôt intégriste, rival politique au sein de la nouvelle communauté, un chef de gang pilleur et tueur sans pitié, un autre ennemi inconnu? Un grand roman, vraiment original, par sa forme un peu ardue, parfois chaotique, par son écriture simple, qui donne la parole à un tas d'acteurs, le plus souvent modestes, dans leur langage personnel. Une énorme humanité. Des personnages simples dans leur fabuleuse complexité. Et une conclusion qui surprendra.
"Hierdie is die storie van wat na Die Koors gebeur het. Soos ek dit onthou. My waarheid. Dalk subjektief, dalk effe krom. Maar ek is feitelikheid en eerlikheid verskuldig aan almal wat deel is van die storie." - Nico Storm
Toe ek klaar Nico se storie gelees het en die boek toemaak, het ek net een gedagte gehad: AWESOME (nee, ontsagwekkend of asemrowend is glad nie beskrywend genoeg nie). Dis mos nou hoe mens 'n storie vertel! As jy verwag om Koors op die naat van jou rug te geniet, dink weer. Jy gaan op die punt van jou stoel sit van begin tot einde. Jou hande gaan kramp (579 bladsye is BAIE om vas te hou, veral as jy angstig raak) en die wyn bottel gaan vinnig sak (senuweeagtige drinker), maar dis elke druppel werd. Deon Meyer oortref vir Deon Meyer.
Deon Meyer het homself al menigte male bewys as ons land se top misdaadskrywer. Sy boeke versprei soos 'n epidemie (maak dit maar 'n Koors) en almal van skoonma, tot die die skoolhoof, tot die mechanic in Brakpan lees dit. Dit is juis wat hom so suksesvol maak. Deon weet hoe om in een boek die hele gemeente gelukkig te hou. Vir mev. Dominee/Professor en Doktor Sus-en-So gebruik hy ontsagwekkende woordspel om diep filosofiese nuanses oor te dra. Vir Jan, Piet, Koos en Sarie op die gallery vertel hy een freaking awesome storie.
Met Koors gaan Deon nog 'n nuwe groepie lede werf - die KJV (Nee, nie die Kerkgroepie nie). Die Kring van Jong Volwassenes. Beter bekend as die YA generasie. Die mees gewildste boeke en topverkopers is deesdae die sogenaamde Young Adult. Almal tussen 16 en 60 lees dit. Ek ook (ek val so in die middel van genoemde ouderdomsgroep). Meeste van hierdie boeke is aksie-belaaid, risikos word geneem, gewone mense word in ongewone omstandighede gedompel, dis regtig die einde van die wereld en die voortbestaan van die mensdom berus in die hande van een of twee uitverkore tieners. Met die skep van Nico Storm bewys Deon Meyer dat hy 'n eie-tydse skrywer is wat saam met die winde van verandering kan waai.
Vir my is 'n groot aantrekking van die hedendaagste YA boeke die feit dat dit visueel baie sterk is. G'n wonder hulle word deesdae omtrent almal loket-treffers nie (ja, ek skimp dat iemand 'n fliek moet maak van Koors). Ek het regtig lanklaas 'n boek gelees wat ek so goed kon visualiseer en toe ek op Deon Meyer se navorsingsfotos vir Koors afkom, het ek sommer nog 'n bottel wyn gaan oopmaak.
In Koors ontmoet ons 'n wye verskeidenheid karakters wat onder normale omstandighede dalk nooit paaie sou kruis nie. Ook hier het ek my verlekker aan die mengelmoes karakters wat tog aan my bekend is. Daar is sekere fasette van die boek wat my aan verskeie ander boeke en karakters laat dink het. Ek dink byvoorbeeld aan The Stand deur Stephen King en veral die volgende aanhaling: “Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare."
Die Koors het my so beet gepak, ek het sommer vir Deon Meyer 'n epos gestuur en die vrae wat my tog so kwel aan hom gerig:
1. KOORS vergelyk sterk (maar regtig uitstekend gedoen) met The Stand deur Stephen King. Nico en Sofia laat my ook dink aan karakters uit die Divergent reeks van Victoria Roth. Is dit bloot toevallig of was daar 'n inspirasie? Ek moet beken dat ek — ondanks my groot respek vir Stephen King — nog nie The Stand gelees het nie (maar sal dit nou graag wil doen), en ook nie enigiets in die Divergent-reeks nie. Dit is dus toevallig.
2. KOORS is egter vir my baie meer realisties en 'n dit-kan-actually-regtig-gebeur scenario as The Stand. In jou Erkennings bedank jy vir Prof. Wolfgang Preiser wat vir jou 'n virus ontwerp het. Is die virus veilig agter slot en grendel of moet ons begin blikkies-kos bymekaar maak? Ons is gelukkig veilig. Prof Preiser het my verseker dat die virus in teorie maklik sal kan muteer, maar dat dit hoegenaamd nie so maklik sal kan versprei nie.
3. Lemmer en Bennie Griesel - het hulle die koors oorleef of nie? Hulle het, tot my groot verligting.
Ek is seker daar is 'n paar baie verligte lesers. Ek is ook maar bekommerd oor Bennie en Lemmer is darem baie stil die laaste ruk. "Moenie betrokke raak nie" is nie heeltemal dieselfde as "moenie verdwyn nie". Ek sien uit om eersdaags weer met Bennie of Lemmer of Nico Storm te kan kuier.
I haven't read a lot of post-apocalyptic recently (last one I can remember is The Stand by Stephen King near 40 years ago). But I do enjoy Deon Meyer these days -- despite my abysmal knowledge of South African geography. I was thrilled to receive an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review.
Fever never felt like it was fantasy or science fiction. Never got hokey for me. There was a great cast of characters, some more central to the story than others and while the story was told from all their individual voices, I never found it confusing and Deon Meyer did an excellent job developing them all. I felt I understood everyone's actions & motivations throughout. Pacing was a little jerkier because of all the individual stories, but it was still a grand read.
My heart is still aching for them all, especially Nico and Willhem.
Deon Meyer wyk hier totaal af van sy gewone genre, maar ek het hierdie boek verskriklik baie geniet. In November 2011 het ek begin skryf aan 'n amper soortgelyke storie, maar na 7 hoofstukke het ek dit eers gelos. Koors het my geïnspireer om weer terug te gaan na my eie skryfwerk. Ek dink heimlik wens almal van ons soms om terug te gaan na 'n meer vereenvoudige lewe, maar darem nie heeltemal soos voor tegnologie nie.
Wspaniała. Możnaby sądzić, że to jedna z wielu postapokaliptycznych opowiastek, wykorzystujących modny temat i wałkujących w kółko to samo aż do wyrzygu. Ale Meyer zrobił z tego wyświechtanego motywu perełkę. Bo oprócz wariacji na temat, jak się odrodzić jako ludzkość po katastrofie, jest tu również refleksja nad kondycją tej ludzkości, są pytania o to, czy bylibyśmy w stanie stać się lepszymi ludźmi, lepszą LUDZKOŚCIĄ, gdyby nam dać możliwość (albo konieczność) rozpoczęcia wszystkiego od nowa, ale jest tu również poruszająca opowieść o niełatwych relacjach między ojcem i synem, a także bolesne świadectwo dojrzewania tego ostatniego. Mądre, piękne, a w dodatku niesamowicie wciągające.
I really loved this book, and right up until the final 50 pages I was absolutely positive that this would be a book that I would read again and again. Mr. Meyer is so descriptive in his storytelling that I fell in love with these people. But, he really brought South Africa alive for me visually. The book didn't have the supernatural components that I enjoy so much about these apocalyptic type books, but it didn't need that since everything else was so damn good. But, and this is huge...what kept it from being as good as The Stand, Swan Song, or The Passage, was that terrible, no good, where the hell did this come from? ending. It made no sense with what had gone before. Plus, so many unanswered questions. Honestly, I'm hoping for a sequel to answer all those questions that were raised, but I've a feeling there's not going to be one. Still, just for the mostly excellent writing, I'd have to recommend this story. Thanks to Atlantic Monthly Press and Netgalley for the gratis e-book.
Wow. Koorts is bijna net zo goed als De Oversteek trilogie van Justin Cronin. Het is heel tof om een post-apocalyptisch verhaal te lezen dat zich afspeelt in Zuid-Afrika en het plot zit ontzettend goed in elkaar. Deze ontknoping had ik absoluut niet verwacht. Ik vind het spijtig dat de memoires van Willem Storm tot een einde moesten komen. Mijn complete recensie vind je op Boekvinder.be.
Trigger warnings: death, epidemic, animal cruelty, violence, murder, gun violence, death of a parent, suicide, animal attacks, war, child abuse. Probably some other stuff that I forget.
Uh, WOW. I picked this book up on a whim because I searched for "translated by" in my library catalogue and it turns out this is translated from Afrikaans. I've never read anything translated from Afrikaans, so I figured I'd give it a go. And it kind of blew my mind.
So the gist of this book is that a mysterious fever has killed 90% of the population. The remaining 10% are struggling for survival and banding together to form new communities. So it felt kind of like a cross between Mad Max and Station Eleven. Or something.
The protagonist starts out as a 13 year old boy. It follows his story through until the death of his father (NOT a spoiler - the first sentence tells you that this book is about his father's murder) several years later.
But in addition to Nico's narrative, we get chunks of the story told from the perspective of others in their community that were apparently collected as part of an oral history project, which is SUPER cool and gave a fascinating perspective on what things were like in the aftermath of the fever across South Africa.
This is over 500 pages and I *flew* through it. It's fast paced and action packed and I desperately needed to know what was going to happen next. My one minor gripe would be that the ending happened all too suddenly. Like, it got to this big crisis point in the story and there were only about 25 pages left, and I just...I wanted MORE from that portion of the story than I got.
But on the whole, this was an incredibly surprising book and I'm so glad I took a chance on it.
The ending surprised me, not in all ways positive. Author posits surviving world pop slightly higher percentage of current world human total than I would have let live. Liked his hydro setting/strategy.
Interesting world building. Wanted frequently to check location maps South Africa and geography.
In the afterword, author wrote he had invested four years researching and writing. *** Have read most of Meyer's South Africa contemporary setting stories. Too much accrued violence to continue. Mr Meyer much increased my awareness of Capetown's society, etc.
Post apocalypse South African style. A contagion has wiped out 90% of humanity. Father Willem and son Nico Storm establish a haven community, with trials and tribulations from inside and outside. For Nico, it is a coming of age story, where he sees his peaceful but empathetic father as weak and the mysterious Domingo, who organizes the military forces, as strong. Meyer, whose prior books are detective mysteries, excels in developing complex characters in a more complex South African society. The love lives of the main characters are also complicated: sometimes unrequited. I did not care much for the book's ending: the origins of the contagion and it feels really unfinished. Maybe another book will be written?
If you're doing a post-apocalyptic survival story, you have to choose between being gritty and realistic or exciting and fantastical. Trying to have both sides of the coin doesn't really work because if you're being realistic, you're stuck with dealing with mostly mundane problems, which can be tense and entertaining, but won't be as exciting as, say, sprinting zombies. Whereas if you're going down the fantastical route, the work you put into dealing with the mundane becomes incredibly boring in comparison to the exciting elements. This book, unfortunately, tried to do both and suffered greatly from those drawbacks, feeling boring for long stretches as people try to find resources and ludicrous when they confront the extremely unlikely parts of the story.
The writing wasn't too bad and while I enjoyed the South African context, it got old pretty quickly with all the name dropping and references to things only South Africans would know about. The book is told from a first person perspective with a bunch of biographical recordings interspersed throughout the book to give the viewpoints of other people involved. I didn't like this format, especially towards the end when the recordings were thrown in constantly, often taking us away from the action. Some of the dialogue was also very stilted and unnatural at times, but it might have felt that way due to the overly dramatic narration in the audiobook that I did. However, my biggest gripe with the writing was the use of foreshadowing, especially with regards to the father's death which by the 10th time it's brought up, I was hoping he would die already so that we can move on with the story.
I found the characters surprisingly weak in that there's very little development for most of them and most are very stereotypical, even to the point of being annoyingly so. Like all the teenagers are angsty, hot-headed morons. While I generally agree with that idea, it felt lazy and the author ended up relying too much on their stupidity to create conflict. Another example of the poor characterization was the 'wise father' who we knew was wise by the fact that he lectured his son on the origins of words and impromptu history lessons. There were also many other cases of stereotyped characters abused to the point of being caricatures like the religious zealot antagonist or the tough and uncompromising ex-military guy that trains people like a drill sergeant.
There were quite a few cases of a deus ex machina getting involved in the story and just as many convenient inconveniences thrown in to create conflict. The world was also surprisingly boring for a post-apocalyptical setting. In a world where 98% of the people have died, there seemed to be a noticeable lack of dead bodies around and with the remaining 2%, there was always someone who knew where to find whatever vital item that was needed. It was essentially a very unsatisfying book from a plot perspective and there weren't any characters to keep you interested either. However, despite all that, I was probably going to give it a 3 since it kept me somewhat engaged with its sporadic episodes of action and sense of mystery. Then the ending happened and, well, it was pretty bad.
Not a book I'd recommend to many people, but I think people with a South African context and a soft spot for post apocalyptic fiction might enjoy it. It's not a bad book, but it's just not very satisfying, especially with books like World War Z out there that do a much better job at telling an intriguing story in that kind of setting.