We had an interesting discussion of The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri which is a relevant text in view of the universal refugee plight. The book follows the journey of a Syrian couple, Nuri (a beekeeper) and Afra (a blinded artist), who are forced to flee to the U.K. to seek refuge from war.
The book offers a personal story of one couple’s choice to leave their home country in search of a life safe from conflict. It offers an individual connection to the stories that we often see on the news. There is a balance between love, hope and exploitation. Balance between heartache and struggle. The resilience of humans to be able to continue as one barrier after another is encountered.
We felt the book worthwhile and thought the author, with her experience of volunteering in the refugee centres, brought a real depth to the characters, with all the stresses and dangers that refugees encounter when fleeing countries. One of our readers felt that the danger of the smugglers, the costs of human sacrifice and the trauma of what’s been left behind was very evident. She particularly liked the characters in the boarding house in England. Such a mix of nationality and stories of their refugee plight and the difficulty of the immigration officer interviews, as well as the difficulty ahead of learning to live in a new country with a different culture and trying to fit in. A few of our readers would have liked more background to the Syrian conflict.
The titular link between bees and climate change refugees is evident – our lives are intertwined.
Lefteri takes a personal story and makes it universal, showing the complexities of individuals. There is horror along the way, but also hope. In terms of refugee plight, ‘No Friend But the Mountains’ by Behrouz Boochani is beautifully poetic as well as painful.
These books give one a greater appreciation of every single person who takes a boat, taking a risk in desperation. They don’t want to be there and the host country doesn’t want them either.
You can find a great review of this book here: Naina Bajekal “A New Novel Sees Beyond the Abstraction of Today’s Refugee Stories”
Ratings : Pauline, Janet and Nicola 3, Lynda, Dianne, Viv and Margie 3.5, Diane and Jenny 4, Robyn-4.5.
Our next meeting will be at Preece House on 9/08/21 at 6:30PM to discuss A Good Man by Ani Katz
Hope to see you all there and happy reading!
We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.
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