Worldwide Beekeeping

Worldwide Beekeeping Resource Library => Books => Topic started by: Wandering Man on November 13, 2016, 09:20:09 am

Title: The Bees: A Novel
Post by: Wandering Man on November 13, 2016, 09:20:09 am
I've just added this one to my reading list:

Title: Re: The Bees: A Novel
Post by: Wandering Man on December 02, 2016, 07:05:48 pm
I am now two-thirds of the way through the book.  The author is Laline Paull.

The heroine is a bee named Flora 717.  Flora was born to the lowest caste of the hive.  In Flora's world you are never permitted to move up.  Her job is to clean the hive and remove debris.  But Flora is special (or else we wouldn't have a book).  Because of her special abilities she gets to rotate through other parts of the hive, including the nursery, the hatchery, and the drone's rooms (yes rooms with doors and stairwells).  She gains fame by fighting off an invading wasp and then becoming the best forager among all the foragers (even though her caste is forbidden to forage because they are unclean).  The bees say prayers to the queen, receive blessings through the queens pheromones, and fear death.

At some points, I think Flora belongs to a cult, rather than a hive.  There are secrets that Flora must protect in order to keep tension in the story, and threats from the outside that Flora manages to protect the hive from.  At the two thirds point, Flora seems to have survived a long rainy Summer and is now facing the fall after having killed (rather than evicted) all of the drones.  There are high priestesses, a queen, and not very many workers separated permanently into castes and tribes.  Breaking a caste is forbidden, as is laying an egg, unless you are a queen.  Bees seem to speak telepathically, bow to the queen, and have human emotions.

Overall, an interesting story, but a little unsatisfying.  The author tries to incorporate the reality of being a bee into her story.  I'll let other readers decide whether they believe she is successful.