Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Bees: A Novel Hardcover – May 6, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“The Bees is an extraordinary feat of imagination, conjuring the life of a beehive in gripping, passionate and brilliant detail. With every page I turned, I found myself drawn deeper into Flora’s plight and her immersive, mesmerizing world.” (—Madeline Miller, bestselling author of The Song of Achilles—Madeline Miller, bestselling author of The Song of Achilles)
“This is a rich, strange book...convincing in its portrayal of the mind-set of a bee and a hive. I finished it feeling I knew...how bees think and live. This is what sets us humans apart—our imagination can...create a complete, believable world so different from our own.” (—Tracy Chevalier, New York Times bestselling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring)
“Told with rapturously attentive imagination...Few novels create such a singular reading experience.” (—The New York Times Book Review)
“Riveting… evocative and beautiful.” (—NPR)
“Richly imagined” (—Los Angeles Times)
“[A] gripping Cinderella/Arthurian tale with lush Keatsian adjectives.” (—Margaret Atwood, via Twitter)
“THE BEES is one wild ride. A sensual, visceral mini-epic about timeless rituals and modern environmental disaster. Paull’s heart pounding novel wrenches us into a new world.” (—Emma Donoghue, The New York Times bestselling author of Room)
“It quickly became clear that in its basic facts, the novel sticks closely to real-world apian biology and behavior. That is fascinating enough, but Paull deftly wields this information to create an even more elaborately layered culture of beeness…Beautiful.” (Washington Post)
“Brilliantly imagined…Paull’s use of human language to describe this tiny, intricate world is classic storytelling at its finest…The Bees boasts a refreshingly feminist spin on fairy tale-style plots….A wildly creative book that resonates deeply for quite a long time. (Austin Chronicle)
“It’s rare to come across a book as mind-blowingly imaginative as Laline Paull’s The Bees. It’s even more rare for such works to be successful, well-written, gripping stories...The Bees is an utterly memorable wonder of a novel.” (Kirkus)
“A marvelous work of fiction… The parallels to “1984” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” are numerous but this story is also its own.” (Florida Times-Union)
Top Customer Reviews
THE BEES has transformed this reader. I have a deeper curiosity and respect for an animal that I once looked at with nothing more than revulsion and fear. I’m not saying I’ll be going out and making friends with my neighborhood bees anytime soon, but at least now I can understand their position. But I digress…
While I disagree with the comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games that THE BEES has been receiving, I can see the reasoning behind these comparisons. Fans of The Hunger Games will recognize the oppression of “the people” and admire Flora 717′s determination. The overall “feel” of the novel (of a young bee’s “coming-of-age” and questioning the structure of her current society) will also be a major draw for YA readers. (With that in mind, this comparison may be a smart marketing decision, overall.) As for The Handmaid’s Tale, I suppose you could find some logic in this when you consider the hierarchical position of the bees in the hive and Flora 717′s struggles in the later half of the book. But when it comes to the overall tone, plus the direction of the story and the manner in which it is told, I cannot help but compare THE BEES to Animal Farm. This book is dark, y’all. This book has a statement to make. As I have already said, THE BEES does for religion what Animal Farm did for government. I see this book as high school or college reading material some day. Or at least, I hope it will be. This is a story whose topics will easily withstand the passage of time and are so important for future generations.Read more ›
By reading the synopsis, this book could go either way. After all, it is about bees, but then again it is so much more. I did not care what true beekeepers would call fact and what the author invented; all I knew was that I was connected with Flora and what she had to do to "accept, obey and serve" her hive and the future of those that depended on her.
Talking through scents, vibration, and touch, the bees communicate the needs of the hive and it is up to the governing body to keep everyone in line. The Sages, the ruling party of the hive, are both enthralled and threatened by Flora. She does not fit the caste that she has been born into. When she proves that she is much more than a typical worker she is moved into other beneficial and demanding jobs. I am not going to say that this is the downfall of the ruling party, but what happens next is both a surprise to Flora and to the single-minded hive.
This book is anthropomorphism at its best. You, as the reader, begin to lose track of the fact that this book takes place within the structure of a beehive. That Flora 717 is a bee and not some dystopian character that Atwood had dreamed up. I was fascinated and fully committed from beginning to end and even thought the premise will not appeal to some, I highly suggest that you reserve you judgement and give the first couple of chapters a try and then make a decision for yourself.
I liked learning about how a beehive functions through this book. It contained a great deal of information that was really interesting, as I'd never thought much about how so many creatures could live productively in such a small space. I enjoyed seeing the things that needed to be done in order to ensure a healthy and functional home for a group of bees.
As I didn't have much background before reading this book, I found it frustrating that Flora 717 continuously came across problems that the author made clear could not possibly be solved.... only to find them solved easily. It is made clear that every bee has a place and to step out of line would be to die, but then Flora 717 defies authority when she leaves the presence of the drones, and when she decides to forage, and every time she decides to stop being a sanitation worker. The community is described as a rigid one in which every bee is required to be in her place at all times, yet Flora 717 is easily able to elude notice and capture on a regular basis. After awhile I stopped feeling a sense of danger and suspense on her behalf. A better overview of how a hive functions would have been helpful, instead of the episodic setup of Flora encountering an unsolvable issue and solving it over and over again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great escapism and got me interested in learning more about bees in general. Highly recommendPublished 9 days ago by Alexander Benson
I wanted to care bout the bees and I thought it was a neat premise. I just really could never get in to it. I finished the book but struggled to get through it.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
The bee version of Watership Down, well written and interesting look into the fictional story (I'm guessing here, because I've had no personal relationship with any bee) of bee... Read morePublished 13 days ago by S. W. Weston
When I realized that this book is actually about bees, I was surprised. I really didn't know. Then I began to wonder if it is a children's book. I am still not sure! Read morePublished 13 days ago by RNT
I never expected to like this book as much as I did. It's a story of bees from one bee's perspective. Interesting, captivating and novel.Published 14 days ago by catsami