Book Report: ‘The History of Bees A Novel’ By: Maja Lunde


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.


Have you ever seen that Ellen Page documentary titled “The Vanishing of the Bees”? It’s a game changer. ‘The History of Bees A Novel’ By Maja Lunde is your literary game changer.  This read speaks to the early texture of the bee crisis in relation to keepers and their work.  A slightly different view of a hive and how bees have coexisted with humans over the last over 200 years.  It hints at perhaps where we went wrong in a fictional sense with a quiet nod to science.

We unpack the keepers own crisis’ and the threads of their own plights, their cultural disconnects and a quest for new beginnings in an age of change. A read that is perfect for the summer at the cottage or back in forth to work.  Think the Joy Luck Club meets Never Let Me Go.

Lunde’s writing is poetic, detailed and if you don’t close attention – be ready to be a worker bee buzzing around wondering where you were left in the hive.

Each chapter is intricately bee combed with the sweetness of stories that dig deep and touch upon our own sensitive stings. We are doled out jars of honey that are labelled with histories that show us not only the deterioration of the keepers esthetic but ultimately how that energy has effected their end product.


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