Review of Fever by Shilo Niziolek

Fever by Shilo Niziolek has sat with me for weeks. It has become a part of me; the armchair in the corner of the room, a vase of flowers, a midnight snack. Pages and pages of highlighted text. Pages in which Niziolek unravels and explores desire, bodies, sexuality, trauma, and chronic illness, and with these words I too unravelled.

But I did not fall apart. I became something new from thread I’ve always had. I became someone understood and in good company. I became someone who finally understands what it means to learn about yourself and your body through travel, and by travel I mean revisiting the past and capturing every person you’ve ever been.

Niziolek’s work is transportative in how past and present marry and divorce, in how memory is portrayed as kaleidoscopic and yet starkly clear, and in how the world is embodied in descriptions of sexuality, gender and the body. Fever is a stunning memoir, it is captivating.

And it is freeing. Niziolek’s courage and fear to gift us with a life lived and still being survived and lived, is empowering and comforting. The parts of myself I identified in Fever did not frighten me. Every time it felt as if a mirror had been held up in front of me, I sighed with relief.

I appreciate this is a very personal review. But I promise you Fever is worth it, even if just for the beautiful talent and style of Niziolek’s writing, imagery and pacing. And if you have experience of chronic illness, trauma responses (particularly around sex and desire), and bisexuality, this memoir will move you. Fever is the ebb and flow of the ocean.