A Recipe For Bees Paperback – 20 Jan 2000
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An absorbing read ... arresting ... This is a swarmy, hummy, sticky book (THE TIMES)
The characterisation is excellent throughout and the novel abounds in fine vignettes of domestic life. Its evocation of humdrum lives illuminated by heroism is truly heart-warming (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
Shares the rich vision of fellow Canadians Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro ... a real discovery (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
The writing sings in this novel of memory and desire (SUNDAY TIMES)
* 'If you like Anne Tyler, you will love this' - Daily Telegraph
* For the thousands who fell in love with THE CURE FOR DEATH BY LIGHTNING - rich domestic detail, wondrous imagery and shining insights into ageing, family and friendship
Top customer reviews
I enjoyed Gail Anderson-Dargatz' first effort (The Cure for Death by Lightning) immensely and was a little concerned that this book might be a bit too similar - an impression which was based on the similar cover and an equally "cutesy" name. However I was pleased to find that this book was quite different and a worthy second novel.
The language in this novel is beautiful, with an ability to evoke quite an emotional response from the reader. I particularly liked the descriptions of the landscape. The rhythms of farming life are described in vivid detail in a way that makes you linger over every word (rather than skipping over descriptive text to get to the story - something I am often guilty of doing). I could almost taste the honey eaten straight from the comb or the berries plucked straight from the bush (eaten while still warm from the sun).
The characters are introduced through the eyes of Augusta, who is the novel's protagonist. The reader tends to react to the other characters in the novel in much the same way as Augusta herself - when she describes her son-in-law, Gabe, as always having the smell of honey about him, you instantly warm to him and little else needs to be written to establish his character. Likewise, while Karl (Augusta's husband) has a small role in the novel in terms of dialogue, the reader feels like they know him well through Augusta's feelings for him. You forgive his early weaknesses because you feel Augusta's genuine love for him and the comfort which they find in each other's company. I must admit that I felt that some of the other characters in the novel may have been a little more one dimensional, particularly Joy, but that may just have been because Augusta herself often had difficulty in relating to her.
Overall I found this to be a honey of a novel and would happily recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Cure for Death by Lightning.
This excellent metaphor represents the struggle of many women of the past to find joy in a patriarchal society that punished deviance with stinging gossip and shunning. Women, like Augusta, whose first marriages were reactions rather than joy-filled, bravely reached out for better and better. Never far from her strong feelings, August truly becomes a Wise Woman.
Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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