The History of Bees

Title: The History of Bees
Author: Maja Lunde, Diane Oatley (translator)
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees and to their children and one another against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.


Wow! I loved this book! It’s an amazing story that crosses three centuries.

On the surface, Tao, William, and George don’t seem to have much in common. They are all involved with bees. William studies bees, George breeds bees, and Tao does the pollinating work of bees. But there are many similarities between them.

They each have trouble with their sons. Without giving too much away, each of them tries to get their son involved with their work, but the boys are not interested. Tao, George and William each deal with failure at some point. They are also woven together by the story of the bees.

Each of the narratives were distinct. I think they could have been separated in to their own stories and been complete. They didn’t rely too much on each other, which makes the connections between them that much more enjoyable.

This is a beautiful and fascinating story. I highly recommend it!

4 thoughts on “The History of Bees”

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