A multi-award winning Italian debut, from a bold new voice in contemporary queer literature.
Jonathan is 31 years old, living in Milan with his boyfriend of three years and their two Devon Rex cats when, on a day like any other, he gets a fever. But unlike most, this fever doesn’t go away; it's constant, low-level, and exhausting. After spending weeks Googling his symptoms and documenting his illness, he finally sees a doctor. A series of blood tests, anxious visits to hospitals, and repeated misdiagnoses ensue, until his doctor suggests an HIV test, and the truth is finally revealed: Jonathan is HIV-positive.
As Jonathan comes to terms with what this diagnosis will mean for him, his future, and his relationships, he also takes the reader back in time, in search of his history, to the suburbs where he grew up, and from which he feels he has escaped: Rozzano, the ghetto of Milan, and of Italy’s north. In the vein of Edouard Louis and Virginie Despentes, Fever is at once a deeply personal story and a searing examination of class, poverty, prejudice, and opportunity in modern Europe.
Jonathan Bazzi was born in Milan in 1985. They have written for various newspapers and magazines, including Gay.it, Vice, and The Vision. Their first novel, Fever, was hailed as a significant addition to queer literature and won the Sila, Premio Opera Prima, Edoardo Kihlgren, and Bagutta literary prizes.
Alice Whitmore is a writer and literary translator living on Eastern Maar country. Her translation of Mariana Dimópulos’s Imminence was awarded the 2021 NSW Premier’s Translation Prize.
“Jagged and tender, forthright and sly, this book felt so committed to its fierce, wise vision of the joys and terrors of having a body and living a life. It tells us real things, in a rich voice, with force and passion and insight. I couldn't put it down.” —Ronnie Scott, author of The Adversary
“I couldn’t put it down. Jonathan Bazzi’s writing is immensely powerful.” —Tomasz Jedrowski, author of Swimming in the Dark
“Jonathan Bazzi’s Fever promises to shed light on something quite specific, but ends up illuminating infinitely more. Here, in direct and unapologetic prose, brilliantly translated by Alice Whitmore, we are immersed in one man’s inner battle to assimilate an HIV diagnosis, yet we are never allowed to lose sight of the wider circumstances that give this battle its distinct emotional configuration: a deprived upbringing, an ill-equipped mother, a neo-fascist father, a suburban wasteland filled with wounded personalities, a precarious livelihood in a modern city, a treacherous online environment, a traumatized queer community, a politically dysfunctional nation. Shifting between anger and rebellion, on the one hand, and tenderness and forgiveness, on the other, Fever grips us first, then terrifies us, then moves us, then urges us, finally, to consider the question, Who gets to be well, and why, and how?” —Gavin McCrea, author of Cells
“Bazzi captures the longing, the wounds, and the joys of growing up queer and working class in 1980s Milan—and what it means to recalibrate your world amid the aftershocks of a life-changing diagnosis. I read it in a single sitting.” —Jennifer Down, author of Bodies of Light
“Every generation, we need new voices to tell us our story. In this harsh, lyrical, and supremely confident memoir, Jonathan Bazzi takes us on a personal journey from violence and disadvantage to the sweet power of queer self-discovery. The writing is terrific—and this is a journey we can all learn from.” —Neil Bartlett, author of Ready To Catch Him Should He Fall and Address Book
“Alternating between powerful recollections of Bazzi’s early life in suburban Milan and meditations on their HIV diagnosis, Fever is a stark and searing account of class, crisis, and contemporary queer life; a portrait of what the body weathers and what it remembers.” —Jack Parlett, author of Fire Island