Monthly Archives: September 2017
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
(Translated by Diane Oatley)
Imagine for one moment a world without Bees. When you think of the vital work Bees do in pollinating plants, that keep the planet and its inhabitants alive then it is a scary thought that a world without Bees could be. China 2098 and Tao is just one of a group of people that is hand pollinating plants after Bees disappeared from our world in the year 2040. This is the novel The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. The International number one bestseller and translated in 20 languages.
It is 1851 and Bees are plentiful. William took to his bed months previous depressed that his ambitions in becoming a famous researcher did not work out and depression has set in. But now he has a vision and this vision is to design a new type of Beehive and enjoy the rewards that will surely follow.
We then move to 2007 and in the United States a beekeeper is trying to keep up the old family traditional ways in farming practices against a backdrop of the ultra-modern practices. But will George succeed?
2098 and Bees are now extinct and the world faces a world food shortage since Bees disappeared. Now people are doing the word of the humble Bee and hand pollinating. Now just imagine that on a world wide scale. The task in itself is mammoth. For Tao and his family, they are now facing a tragedy of their own and now they face a journey to try and uncover what has happened to their son and why were the authorities hiding the truth.
Throughout this novel Bees play a significant role in the various storylines through the various generations. Did the world take the bee for granted and what role did the human race and global industries play in the demise the Bee?
I loved the way that Maja Lunde created each of the characters and their narrative through the generations and each in turn bees play such a vital role. Lunde has created a dystopian novel with a worrying concern for the planets future at the hands of mankind. But do not worry too much as there is ‘hope’ and this plays a part towards the end of a brilliant book so beautifully constructed and written. The History of Bees is really worth discovering for yourself. I promise you will look at bees differently after you read this fascinating novel.
Thank you to Jessica Barratt for the advanced review copy.
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde is published by Scribner and was published on 7th September and is available in hardback through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
Maria in the Moon is the third novel from Louise Beech and by far the best yet. A novel that will test your senses through to the very last page. A dark psychological thriller with complex and damaged characters. So beautifully written, this is a novel that will linger long after you have finished reading.
Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope lost her home in the terrible floods in Hull in 2007, like many she lost everything. People felt loss so a Flood Crisis helpline was set up. But for Catherine there is much more that she has lost. Memory and sleep. Insomnia is just dreadful. Trust me on that one. Now Catherine has volunteered on the helpline and for Catherine she is learns to listen to people who are just in need of help and support through a difficult time even to the point of taking their own lives. But away from the call centre there is another side to Catherine. Memories of a painful breakup of her relationship. Catherine is vulnerable, and lonely. But there is something lurking in the background that is disturbing and she can only deal with this by being brutal and hostile to others. The dark humour she uses is only to cover up the painful memories that are slowly coming back from the past.
Like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces missing for so long suddenly now falling into place her memory now is releasing parts of those missing pieces. The road to recovery is a long road for Catherine and a painful one. Life can be cruel and for Catherine life has been more than just difficult even when it comes to her relationship with her closest family. How I hoped for better times for Catherine through this incredible and beautifully written novel. I have been fortunate to have read all of Louise Beech’s novels and how she writes. She manages to capture the reader and here in Maria in the Moon Louise has managed if that is possible to go further and your feelings will be tested in every sense. It is dark and also a deeply moving story that will stay long after you have finished reading.
I have high hopes that Maria in the Moon will be the breakthrough novel that gets Louise Beech the recognition she so deserves. Sometimes her novels can deal with difficult subjects but how she brings the stories alive with every character in each of her novels. Maria in the Moon is released at the end of September and is one of my books for the autumn. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Karen Sullivan for the advanced review copy of Maria in the Moon.
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech is published on 30th September by Orenda Books and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Like a warm cosy blanket on a cold winters night, The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa wraps itself around you and does not let you go until the very end. The international bestseller is so beautifully written and a heartwarming tale from Japan.
The story starts with Nana the cat who has been befriended by Satoru Miyawaki and they soon become the best of friends. Now together they embark on a trip together across Japan but this is no ordinary trip, this a trip that involves visiting some old friends including some Satoru has not seen in a long time. The reason becomes obvious that Satoru is looking some a new home for Nana the cat. At first there is no real clue as to why he wants to Nana away to a new home. But as the journey deepens and the seasons change Nana who is a wise cat soon begins to realise why they are on this journey and this will soon become totalling devastating to Nana and to the reader. The news is heartbreaking.
Along their journey together Nana is always riding in the front seat of the Van that Satoru drives. The pair whose bond and love for each other is so strong Nana has become totalling loyal and trusting from the time Satoru took him in from the street. Anyone who loves animals not just Cats will totally understand what I am saying here. Their road trip across Japan together is so incredibly life-affirming and along the way they will meet some of Satoru’s old friends and they too are curious as to why he wants to give Nana away. But Nana has worked it out now.
A beautiful tale of kindness and so warm and tender and will bring great joy to everyone who reads The Travelling Cat Chronicles. Translated by Philip Gabriel who is experienced in translating from Japanese literature and best known for his work with Haruki Murakami. Delighted to highly recommend The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. This is a book that has sadness, real joy and there is some humour as you take a journey across Japan with Satoru and Nana the cat. Make yourself a coffee and settle down with this wonderful book. You will not want to stop reading it.
Thank you to Poppy Stimpson for the advanced review copy of The Travelling Cat Chronicles.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa is published by Doubleday and is published on 2nd November and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Tin Man – Sarah Winman
A beautiful bright yellow cover heralds what is quite simply a stunningly beautiful novel inside. Tin Man by Sarah Winman begins with a painting of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers being won in a raffle. A story of friendship, love and loss a story of two boys as friends that drifted apart and then reunited. A beautiful story that I found so difficult to leave. Although on short at just around 200 pages once started it was over so quickly as I could not put it down.
When both Ellis and Michael were boys they entered each other’s lives and they were inseparable. They were the best of friends. But as they grew life would play its part. Annie then enters their lives and the story then moves on to see Annie and Ellis marry and Michael departs their lives and moves away to London for his own reasons. Time moves on for both Ellis and Michael.
The novel is split between the story through Ellis and then later through Michael and his thoughts as he travels through Europe and the memories he recounts especially the days spent in the South of France with Ellis when for those precious days the two became one. For those brief moments in their life anything was possible.
Sometimes we believe a life plan is set out for us only never to be fulfilled a life that could have been so different. But sometimes life can only but give us a brief glimpse of what could have been and then cruel reality. Sarah Winman writes with such emotion. The characters in Tin Man are just so incredible. Lives so fragile and so precious. All three share the same one aspect and that is love. This is not just writing this is a story set to poetry it is that remarkable. It is all here every human emotion. Love, loss friendship and loneliness. It will move you, it break you and put you back together again. Like a precious vase the human heart is capable of being broken and shattered yet it can also heal.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman is one of those books that will make you realise just how precious we all are. A difficult review to write without giving too much away. It is emotive and powerful. I expect to see this beautiful book in many reader’s books of the year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman is published through Tinder Press and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.