They called her Typhoid Mary. They believed she was sick, that she was passing typhoid fever from her hands to the food that she served. They said she should have known. But Mary wasn't sick. She hadn't done anything wrong. She wasn't arrested right away. There were warnings. Requests. And when she was finally taken, she did not go quietly. Branded a murderer and condemned by press and public alike, Mary continued to fight for her freedom, no matter the cost. Mary Beth Keane's fictional account presents us with a very cleverly wrought conundrum: was Mary Mallon a selfish monster or a hounded innocent?
Mary Beth Keane was born in New York City to Irish parents and grew up in Rockland County, New York. She attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an M.F.A in Fiction. In 2011, she was named by Julia Glass to the National Book Foundation's '5 under 35'. She lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons.