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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

September 2019

I read THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by Christy Lefteri back in May. I have not looked at bees or honey the same way since. I also have given a lot of thought to people who have no options, especially those trapped by circumstances not of their own doing.

The story revolves around Nuri, a beekeeper from Aleppo, Syria, and his wife, Afra, an artist. As the book opens, Nuri and his cousin, Mustafa, are cultivating a number of hives in the Syrian countryside. War quickly upends their safe world as their hives are burned, and they are forced to flee. Mustafa heads out one way, while Nuri heads first through Turkey and then into Greece, where they join fellow Syrians looking for a safe haven. The goal: to get to the UK, which is the dream of so many refugees. Mustafa already has made his way there; he has started a new apiary and awaits Nuri’s arrival. But there are so many challenges that lie between him and this destination.

As they make their journey, Afra loses her sight; their son, Sami, is gone; and Nuri resolves not to let what is unraveling around him control him. He has an inner determination, as well as a protective spirit. But so many challenges come at him daily. Simple things become complicated, giving readers an inside lens of just what tough work it is to be without a home, or anything to moor you, as you are chasing a new life.

Christy’s writing is beautiful; her storytelling is driven by stories that she heard when she was volunteering at a shelter for refugees in an abandoned airport in Greece. She writes with great passion about the sadness of these people trapped and waiting. The pages flew by, and I found myself thinking of THE KITE RUNNER as I read it.

For book clubs, there is lots to discuss here. A small thing that brings a lot of food for thought: the chapters that have words as titles, and the ones with numbers. Think about serving up some honey-flavored treats.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

  • Publication Date: August 27, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 1984821210
  • ISBN-13: 9781984821218