- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition, First Impression edition (8 May 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007557728
- ISBN-13: 978-0007557721
- Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.1 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 685 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Bees Hardcover – 8 May 2014
|New from||Used from|
|Hardcover, 8 May 2014||
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
‘[A] gripping Cinderella/Arthurian tale with lush Keatsian adjectives’ Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
‘Beautifully written and unusual … Captivating … A brave and original story that highlights our modern environmental crimes, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricacies of bee world … Any book that changes the way we see our world surely deserves to be a success’ Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times
‘Ambitious and bold … told with such rapturously attentive imagination … The tale zooms along with such propulsive and addictive prose … Few novels create such a singular reading experience. The buzz you will hear surrounding this book and its astonishing author is utterly deserved’ New York Times
‘One wild ride. A sensual, visceral mini-epic about timeless rituals and modern environmental disaster. Paull's heartpounding novel wrenches us into a new world’ Emma Donoghue
‘This unusual and cunningly imagined thriller hurtles us through the very bizarre life and adventures of Flora 717 … Strangely thought-provoking’ Angus Clarke, The Times
‘A rich, strange book, utterly convincing in its portrayal of the mindset of a bee and a hive. I finished it feeling I knew exactly how bees think and live. This is what sets us humans apart from other animals, that our imagination can allow us to create a complete, believable world so different from our own’ Tracy Chevalier
‘It is the best novel of its kind since “Watership Down”. All the tension of a palace intrigue and the heart of a small, undaunted hero. An astonishing achievement’ Martin Cruz Smith
‘What Laline Paull has accomplished here is multivalent: a rumination on nature; a portrait of the struggle between individual and the stifling matrix of society; and a depiction of how humanity might organize itself along different lines. I’d call it, in the end, science fiction at its best.’ Paul Di Filippo, Locus
About the Author
Laline Paull was born in England. Her parents were first-generation Indian immigrants. She studied English at Oxford, screenwriting in Los Angeles, and theatre in London, where she has had two plays performed at the Royal National Theatre. She is a member of BAFTA and the Writers’ Guild of America. She lives in England by the sea with her husband, the photographer Adrian Peacock, and their three children. ‘The Bees’ is her first novel. It received wide critical acclaim and was chosen as an Amazon Rising Star.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book describes the birth, life, and death of Flora. She was born into the hive as a humble sanitation worker – cleaning up and removing the dead bodies of her sisters. But she, very unusually for a bee of her class, has the ability to talk and question the meaning of her existence. She is brave and saves the colony from a deadly wasp attack – and is rewarded by spending time in the queen’s serene presence. She is ‘promoted’ to be a forager and responsible, with her fellow foragers, for bringing in the nectar and pollen on which everyone depends so precariously for life.
The Bees is not sentimental in describing the life of the hive. From the mating of a drone with the queen (and his subsequent immediate death), to the ‘removal’ of sick bees, to the contraction of the colony as winter approaches – surviving drones and the older and weaker bees are all thrown out, to the issues that a queen-less colony can face, everything is told in a matter of fact way. Life for a bee can be very hard.
We learn a great deal about nature as we read The Bees. We get to know the evil and devious methods that wasps and spiders use to attract their prey. We get familiar with what flowers bloom at which season of the year, and we are taught how to recognise different pollens. Did you, for example, know that poppy pollen is black? We even find out the devastating impact of searching for pollen in a field of rape seed that has just been sprayed with deadly chemicals. And did you (I swear this is true) know that a forager returning to the hive performs a complicated dance to indicate to other foragers the precise direction and distance of the pollen she has found?
The Bees also explains to us the thought that the colony is the ‘creature’ and that the bees are the cells that make it up. The Hive Mind can override personal thoughts and control their actions. Groups think can take over and drive behaviour.
Laline Paull has written a really great book which I wholeheartedly recommend. If you want to understand the life of the hive – and enjoy a really good story at the same time – then this is absolutely for you. You will be totally fascinated. The most memorable book I have read for quite a while.
The story revolves around bee 717 who learns the ways and intricacies of hive life and its sweet.
Then comes the action.
In the author notes, one of her younger family members had read a draft version had given her the feedback to include more violence. Yes, she listened. Sometimes to horrifying effect.
Things then got very Dystopian, with priestesses walking around demanding that everyone OBEY, SERVE, PROTECT at all costs. And I do mean all costs. The punishment for disobedience to the holy mother was severe indeed.
In all, the author has done her research well and our intrepid bees fight off all the usual suspects. Wasps, mice, Foul Brood (disease), winter and the impact of humans on the environment.
I was rushing through pages at some points and gripped with intrigue.
Whatever the accuracy - Bee 717 you will always have a place in my heart, and you can't say fairer than that!.
This is great Sci-Fi, using the bee hive and Flora's struggles to hide her deviant behaviour as a clever metaphor for a dictatorial society. Her prose was a little laboured for me, but I still enjoyed this book, reminiscent of Margaret Atwood and Aldous Huxley.
Flora 717 is no ordinary bee. When she was born grotesquely large and ugly into the lowest caste as a sanitation worker, ‘lower of kin and cleaner of filty’ (my kind of job) she survived death at the claws of the deformity police because in a caste of mutes Flora can talk. She is also strong and brave and her sharp senses that bring her to the attention of a high priestess who allows Flora to rise above her caste. In a society where propagation is all comsuming, her ability to forage gains Flora status in the hive.
Flora through her foraging travels learns about the world and gains knowledge that all is not well and the hive is in danger.
But Flora 717 has another attribute and in this society where only the queen is allowed to breed, Flora’s birth of a daughter is seen as a crime against the hive and punishable by death. If they find out.
The hive is in danger from the outside world and when the queen becomes ill the hive descends into infighting and anarchy and is laid open to the attack of the ‘dirty’ wasps.
The writing of this novel is like honey itself, but when gore is required man bees spare no prisoners.
As a male I found the treatment of my gender a little alarming. Only useful for their sperm, they are portrayed as lay abouts, good for nothing eating all the food and bragging about their exploits.
I love Dystopian and I write Dystopian and this is up there with the best. Love it.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews