Miranda Trimmier

  • interviews September 22, 2014

    Bookforum talks with Eula Biss

    As Eula Biss began investigating immunity and public health, her interest moved from the question of fear to the question of how to move past it, and into a discussion of social ethics and care: What does an individual body—scared or not—owe the collective body?

    Eula Biss opens her new book, On Immunity: An Inoculation, with a description of a video her husband recorded the day before she gave birth to their son. In the video, she observes, her face looked free of fear. Twenty-four hours later, after a difficult labor and a blood transfusion, this was no longer true. Suddenly she feared many things: lead paint in the walls, toxic plastics in the crib mattress, carcinogenic minerals in the water. It was 2009, the H1N1 vaccination campaign was soon to launch, and a post-recession wariness tinged the air—“not a good season for trust,” as Biss notes. Groups