“Imagine The Leftovers, but with honey” (Elle), and in the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this “spectacular and deeply moving” (Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author) novel follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.
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 honor and fame.
United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting 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, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.
Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins “the past, the present, and a terrifying future in a riveting story as complex as a honeycomb” (New York Times bestselling author Bryn Greenwood) that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Children’s author Maja Lunde makes a stunning debut in adult fiction with a novel that kept us thinking about the world long after we’d finished reading. She tells the stories of three individuals—a 19th-century biologist, a modern-day beekeeper, and a mother in a dystopian future—and uses the evolving fate of bees in each era to raise haunting concerns about our relationship with nature. But this is also an optimistic book about the bond between parents and their children—and the way all three characters are eventually tied together is clever and satisfying.
In her first adult novel, Norwegian children's author Lunde posits an apocalyptic future, weaving together stories on three continents in three different time periods that revolve around honeybees. In 2098, Tao, a human pollinator for fruit trees in a world devoid of bees, struggles along with her husband to make ends meet. She's is devoted to her three-year-old son, Wei-Wen, who suddenly has a mysterious and catastrophic accident. In 1851, William Savage, a father of eight in Hertfordshire, England, believes he has finally come up with an ingenious design for the perfect beehive, which will not only save the family from financial decline but will also bond him with his only son, Edmund. George, a beekeeper in 2007 Ohio, is desperate to have his son, Tom, take over the family business, even though Tom is pursuing an academic career. George prides himself on his work and the hand-built hives that have been in his family for generations, but everything changes when disaster strikes apiaries across the U.S. As the author adroitly switches back and forth among the intense stories, she explores the link between parents and children, and the delicate balance of expressing parental expectations versus allowing grown children to follow their own passions. There is also the strong theme about the potentially bleak outcome for a world that ignores the warning signs of environmental catastrophe and allows honeybees to disappear. Lunde's novel provides both a multifaceted story and a convincing and timely wake-up call.