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The History of Bees

Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Summary

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.

©2017 Maja Lunde (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overrated

This book consists of three storylines.
one that plays in the past which is relatively interesting. though most of the interactions described seam robotic and erratic and inconsistent .

The second story plays in a roughly now. early 2000. the stroy is not overly interesting. the main character is more of a robot than a human incable of normal human interactions.

the third story is terrible it's boring. it's 7h of a mother talking to a toddler than talking to her husband which at times seams mentally challenged. but worst at all the mother she is written horrible (though fantastically acted). all she does is scream a name over 5 hours.

my advice skip the third story line. it does nothing for the plot. they are loosely connected and plottwists are obvious.

all the review saying politicians and leaders need to read this book are widely exaggerated. this book is fiction with a fundamental if minimal science.

now if you read this far you either already bought the book and wanted to see what others though,

or more importantly you are on the verge of buying it. if this is the case I would say give it a pass or just skip all of the third future storyline.

well this is my opinion yours may be different.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Absolutely loved this. Wonderfully written and performed. Was truly sad when it ended. Had tones of Station 11, Never Let Me Go with a David Mitchell style but still completely her own. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dreadful narration!

I couldn’t get past chapter 3.
The narration is robotic and difficult to listen to.
Such a disappointment as the story seemed interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I may have missed the point...

In a nutshell: bygone era chap designs a beehive; current day farmer looses bees to disease and future day agricultural worker suffers a loss due to a bee.

For me, too many story threads introduced but not developed. I guess keeping the focus on the three main characters was intentional but that left too many interesting ideas unexplored.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking on so many levels

My mind is reeling! What is my contribution to society, what do I want for my children, should I want for my children or allow them to naturally evolve? should I only eat organic, are organic methods enough? Will my failures initiate future generations achievements. Nature should be left to its own devices, it cannot be tamed. Humans greatest mistake is our confidence in managing our environment... Is there hope?

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing and enlightening book

Everyone should read it!! Totally relevant and we could learn a lot from the stories.

1 person found this helpful

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worse than a handful of dead bees

This book was dreadful. Three bad novellas, each too long, each with characters steeped in self pity, each drab and cheerless. I wouldn't have bothered if this had not been a book group book.

I am not a fan of dystopian gloom, historical fiction and end-of-the-world-is-nigh bad-science fiction. CCD might have been big in 2006 but I am told there hasn't been a case in 5 years. It is a recurring trouble and has been with us for a couple of hundred years. So not just since modern pesticides. I get the feeling the author thought it was a suitably romantic theme to hang her flaccid characters on, ignoring the facts while bleating on about humans creating their own demise. Oddly I think I'd prefer a world where everything was falling to pieces, there wasn't excess cheap food and folk had to work in the fields pollinating trees. But you would have human height trees not full size fruit trees; only a dimwit (author) would have full sized trees for hand pollination. Come on Maja put your thinking cap on.

The structure was absolutely predictable with no surprises. One of the main themes runs parallel to the opening chapters of Coupland's Generation A, but takes an age to unfold and has less to say and fewer dramatic turns.

And some of the worst writing I've listened to in a long time. I was surprised it got published. You have been warned.

3 people found this helpful

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A remarkable book - thank you.

Really interesting the way the three stories evolved ... I highly recommend this book / audible listen.

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Stick with it!

I nearly gave up on this a few times, finding the characters and story line quite slow and monotonous, but 2/3s of the way through, it all started to click together and the storyline made more sense. The history of bees has a very relevant lesson for us all in it and is worth sticking with just for that. Now finished I look back at the characters with a fondness and enjoyed their story and how it intertwined eventually.

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Strangely enthralling.

I hadn't expected to like this book as much as I did. There is a sense of impending doom initially and a breathless 'to and fro' that leaves an uneasy feeling. As the individual storylines build however, the characters do start to hold your attention more. They're not really likeable on the surface but they are so very human and vulnerable. Without spoiling the end for others I'd say there is something hopeful and positive to be taken from this book. I was really moved by the characters and my enjoyment grew throughout it's reading. The readers are wonderful and make the separate threads mesh together really effectively. It's a particularly good book to have accessed via Audible and the readers certainly added to my overall enjoyment. A thought provoking and moving book.

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  • Dianne
  • 22-08-17

I loved this book !!!

This is the best story I listened to in years. I felt present in all the chapters, as if Maja was talking to me, to my heart. Each era drew me into the story deeper and deeper into the past, present, and future and left me with an amazing hope for the health and beauty of our planet Earth

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tiffany Boyland
  • 22-11-17

Excellent!

Very moving book and super suitable format for audible with the 3 person storylines. Really enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Malgorzata Kaczmarska
  • 11-01-18

Boring and predictable.

I bought this book because the brief description of it said "in the spirit of Station Eleven..." - well, it is nothing like Station Eleven!

The three stories are boring and very predictable, no real highs and culmination in the entire book.

I liked the two male narrators, but not the female one.

One good thing about this book: it's beautifully written. Too bad even that doesn't help this book...

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-11-17

Predictable and poorly narrated

I really struggled to finish this story. I didn't like 2 of the 3 narrators. The story went between being predictable and being confusing.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Claus
  • 23-05-20

History of stupid men

Well written and well performed. I did not like the main male characters. It was exhausting to spend this much time with them. This was a sad and very realistic story.

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  • Dale
  • 15-09-19

ReadThisBookAndLearn

This is easily the best, yet most worrisome book I've read in a long time. Love the multi-narrative format. The story is so real, so terrifying of what is happening and of how wholly reliant our existence is interdependent with all other life on this planet. Keep on buzzing, but remember where your honey comes from and at what cost