Fiction, 2020 | 461 pages
The Murmur of Bees is a gorgeous story. When you are ready to lose yourself in a novel that is artistically written, with deep and complex characters, find yourself a copy of The Murmur of Bees.
Set in the small town of Linares in Mexico, south of Monterey, the story begins when Nana Reja discovers an infant, abandoned under a bridge, disfigured (harelip?) and covered with bees who do not harm him. He is named Simonopio. He goes to live with the Morales family, landowners who take him in and raise him as their own. We follow the Morales family though many decades, deaths, and, in the first half, the great plague of 1917/1918.
The tale is narrated by Simonopio’s younger brother, Francisco, who is born when Simonopio is 12. The bind between these two brothers is intense and unbreakable during their early years, though Simonopio cannot speak except in his own self-formed language. And there is magic. Magic that is imbued with wisdom, wanderlust, safety, communication, adventure, prediction of the future. Simonopio is intimately linked with bees, in their mutually beneficial relationship. It is with the bees, following the bees, learning from the bees, being protected by the bees, that he develops into a man.
The first of Segovia’s novels to be translated from Spanish into English, it is well worth your time, sitting on the couch with a cup of tea. I recommend it highly. Thank you, Carolyn, for this luscious read.