Thoughts On The Beekeeper of Aleppo
'Where there are bees there are flowers, and where there are flowers there is new life and hope' (The Beekeeper of Aleppo: Christy Lefteri).
**Trigger warnings: These are the real life experiences of asylum seekers, they include abuse, violence, poor mental health, rape and sexual abuse.**
The story of Nuri, a bee-keeper and his wife Afra who is an artist as the flee Syria following the war there. They stay for as long as they can due to their love of their country but watch the devastation all around them. As they travel across the world to reach the UK and their friend Mustafa they encounter abuse, experience incredibly dangerous situations and struggle to survive in situations which asylum seekers encounter in real life.
What others have said
"Christy Lefteri has crafted a beautiful novel, intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant. I'm recommending this book to everyone I care about. So, I'm recommending this book to you" -- Benjamin Zephaniah, poet and musician.
“She has created a convincing and harrowing novel about the will to survive- and the enduring power of love" -- Sunday Mirror
"Honestly, The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri is stunning because it has everything I wanted and more in it." -- Romantics, Rebels and Reviews.
What did I think?
A truly beautiful and wonderful piece of literature. As you can probably tell, I loved it. I look forward to reading to again and I know I will love it again and will get more from it. Another book that I believe is essential reading for everyone, and if we meet I will tell you to buy it and read it.
Whilst, the author is not a Syrian refugee, there is a sense of her doing her research, listening to the voices of Syrian asylum seekers and considering the information available to her. At times, its not a 'pretty' book and the subject matter is hard, graphic and distressing but it is written with such sensitivity and with a thoughtful narrative.
The way in which Christy Lefteri writes is beautiful - the level of description that she provides around situation, landscapes and people provides the reader with such vivid imagery of what is being described. The story provides dignity to its characters and even the people that we know are the 'bad guys', even they are written with a manner that provides some level of explanation concerning 'why' they may be behaving in the way that they are.
I loved this book and even though I am normally a very quick reader, I found that this one took some time. Not because I wasn't interested, or because it takes a while to get into, in fact its the exact opposite. I wonder if it was because I wanted to keep reading it as it was special. Or maybe because throughout the book there is a sense that this is not just a story and therefore, it needs to be taken seriously. It does all this at the same time as being a beautiful love story. It's essential reading and I can only hope that it informs and influences opinions.
Star rating: 5* (out of 5)
Will I read it again?: Yes, 100% and I am already looking forward to doing so.