cover image The Fervor

The Fervor

Alma Katsu. Putnam, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-32833-0

Katsu (The Hunger) weaves myriad perspectives into a powerful historical horror novel centered on the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. A Japanese meteorologist travels to a windswept island; a hesitant Oregonian minister worries he worships his wife more than God; a Japanese immigrant interred in Camp Minidoka fiercely defends her mixed-race daughter while not quite daring to hope for the return of her white husband from the Pacific Front; and a sharp Nebraska journalist is less interested in the married man she’s seeing than in the fireball that explodes over their trysting site. At first, these characters seem linked only by their eerie encounters with tiny, translucent spiders, an apparition in a kimono, and the remnants of what appear to be paper parachutes. It takes some time for deeper connections to come into view—pace is not a selling point here—but throughout, the meticulous and compassionate portraiture, placed against the backdrop of what evils humans do to one another, creates a horror that renders even the creepiest spiders merely decorative in comparison. Horror readers looking for sharp social commentary should snap this up. [em]Agents: Richard Pine and Eliza Rothstein, InkWell Management. (Apr.) [/em]