Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015 Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction 2015 Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive.
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive.
Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.
Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing.
Then she finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.
Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind.
But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden...Laline Paull's chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, 'The Bees' is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 08/05/2014
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780007557721
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Review by pierthinker
The strangest book I have read in a long time. Set in a beehive it tells the story of the hive over a year through a single bee, Flora. Flora encounters ritual, hierarchy, power politics, sacrifice, duty and love all told with a faithful representation of what we know actually goes on inside beehives with a minimum of fantastical interpretation (other than bees communicating with each other as individuals...).This book works on many levels. As a YA book it perfectly captures the insider/outsider pressures of growing up. From a more adult perspective, it shows how enormously intricate, complex and beautiful even the smallest and most hidden or secret parts of our world are and what damage we do to them, even unwittingly, with our focus on just ourselves.I found this book intellectually fascinating and emotionally very moving.