Published today, 18 February 2015, in the UK, On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss is available to buy through the Fitzcarraldo Editions website, and in bookshops nationwide.
In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in your children’s air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.
The book has already attracted praise in the UK, with a lengthy review in this week’s New Statesman by Steven Poole: ‘[T]he widely used phrase “herd immunity” [is] one of those buried metaphors that Eula Biss regularly stops to unearth throughout this beautifully written essay … [P]artly a fruitful archaeology of ideas about immunity – which sometimes seem to be metaphor all the way down – and partly a memoir: the subject took on visceral importance for the author once she gave birth to a son who turned out to have severe allergies.’
On Immunity has been shortlisted for the National Books Critics Circle Award for ‘Criticism’; it was also named one of the New York Times Top 10 Books of 2014. The opening section of the book is available to read on our website (click the ‘Read Preview’ tab). A longer excerpt is available to read in Guernica magazine.
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