Swaziland is where you think, for the first time, maybe if I got brain fever I would be able to stop worrying. I’d lose control and, maybe then, I’d understand my friend’s mind.
In an attempt to break free from rationality and make her life a work of art, Gigi Fenster decides to induce a fever in herself. Fever, she surmises, is a ‘particularly writerly thing’. What follows is a captivating memoir of that attempt.
Feverish ranges over Fenster’s childhood in South Africa, her relationships with her psychiatrist father, her troubled friend Simon, and her mother and four siblings, through to New Zealand and her relationships with her two teenage daughters. As she traverses her life, Fenster asks questions about bravery, transgression, vulnerability and the value we place on art.
This memoir is a witty, intelligent, original examination of what it means to be a compassionate human being. ‘Without empathy,’ she writes, ‘one cannot tell the full story. There can be no proper care.’