The History of Bees, Maja Lunde

by Laura Mclellan

The novel follows 3 very different characters from 3 very different times, exploring the intricate relationship between them, their family and of course, bees.

William, a 19th century English biologist and seed merchant, is desperate to make a name (and some money) for himself and his family. He sets about inventing a new hive that will facilitate both the study of bees and the harvest of honey.

George, a modern-day American beekeeper, faces the very real threat of industrial farming practices. Pesticides, monoculture, climate change, not to mention a son who would perhaps prefer a career in creative writing than the traditional craft of apiculture.

Tao, a human pollinator, toils for hours on end to pollinate the fruit trees of a near-future China. Bee extinction exacerbated the already dire global situation and led to the Collapse. Her struggle for a better future for her son will have wider repercussions than she could ever imagine.

Using these three intimate family portraits, Marja Lunde presents a poignant, personal vision of our wider environmental situation. The parent/child relationships mirror the nature/human relationships and show just how fragile these bonds can be.

At times tragically dystopian, at times radiating hope, Marja Lunde effectively demonstrates how every one of us is reliant on the survival of particularly the bees, but by extension the continued co-existance of all species on Earth.

Loved it!

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