The History of Bees
The genre of 'cli-fi' in fiction refers to climate change. Maja Lunde makes a valuable contribution here. This tale pieces together three stories; past, present and future. Ostensibly they concern life, love and loss but the real issue is the history of bees. Are they history? It would seem so, and if so, like the canary in the mine, what is the implication of that for us?
It does seem obvious except that the future, viewed from the unfiltered eyes of a child, offers hope. The author, a mother of three boys, is informed by two of them that there is hope. The third child (youngest) – not so much. If the bees go (they do), what happens to us? A thoughtful book, well written and researched. The history of bees is a metaphor; if you do that, this will happen. Karma, Utu? It is a question the reader is left to think about . Recommended. Mike
England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honour and fame.
United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper and fights an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.
China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident—and she is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition—she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.
Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought provoking story that is just as much about the powerful relationships between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.
This is a beautifully written history of the decline in the world’s bee population. The story cleverly weaves the narratives of three generations of bee-keepers to create a world in environmental crisis where we are exposed to the intricacies of nature and humanity. This is a thought-provoking book, which is highly recommended to those who can relate to the fluctuating joys and frustrations of family relationships or for anyone who has a curiosity about the humble bee and the role they play in our world. Kim at Matilda Bookshop
Maja Lunde is a Norwegian author and screenwriter. Lunde has written ten books for children and young adults. She has also written scripts for Norwegian television, including for the children’s series Barnas supershow (“The Children’s Super Show”), the drama series Hjem (“Home”) and the comedy series Side om Side (“Side by Side”). The History of Bees is her first novel for adults. She lives with her husband and three children in Oslo.