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Review: The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia


From a beguiling voice in Mexican fiction comes an astonishing novel—her first to be translated into English—about a mysterious child with the power to change a family’s history in a country on the verge of revolution.

From the day old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican village forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.  


I am not a big fan of translated stories but since I cannot speak Mexican, I had to trust my gut about this book. It was recommended to me by Goodreads and thought why not. Let me expand my knowledge.
I was not disappointed.

Simonopio’s story is written with so much empathy and understanding that I simply could not put this book down. And I believe the translation was spot on because the essences of the story came through in each word and sentence and could I enjoy this historical read to the fullest. The author’s ability to capture my imagination by the amicable storytelling had me from page one.

It is storytelling at its best. As a reader, I was taken on a journey, back in time when Influenza played a huge role in the reshaping of the world.
At one stage, I wondered if the 2020 pandemic has influenced my thoughts, since the same changes are visible all around us. But this was worth every minute I spend within this book.

The relevance of the history and Simonopio's story, even today is heartfelt as you venture into this world of surviving everyday life with the unusual boy accompanied by bees. The relationship between man and bees is well-known but, in this story, it felt as if I could understand the hive and their reasons for protecting the boy. The delicate relationship of trust and determination between them added a subtle twist into the story. Knowing that something is about to happen but unsure.
The continual built up gives you glimpses of life on this farm and the people that lived there. The subtle nuances between landowner and workers became part of the suspense. Written in the third person, I had a good understanding of each character’s thoughts which enhanced the storyline greatly.

Simonopio’s character though was absolutely the best to follow. This boy could not speak a word but through the eyes of the author, this character felt like an old soul with so much wisdom that I was mesmerized. His actions are genuine and insightful as you tagged along.

Nana Reja’s character also filled me with curious wonder. Her tale just as unusual and fitting to the story.

Within all these events, evil loomed like dangerous cancer which only the bees were aware of. The bees and Simonopio. An evil with no name but growing in intensity. As his journey continues it grew while the world went off their lives as normal as always.

The trail always leading Simonopio onwards. Seasons come and goes and each time the intensity grows with the boy. Like a fever, it builds till that moment of revelation. The small breaks like the discovery of orange blossoms gave realism to the plot and you are plunged into time, progress and growth.

A book I can recommend to every reader that likes the delicate intricacies of a well-written tale.

Amazon 

0
I want my money back
One for the Christmas wishlist
 

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