Telling The Bees
World English Putnam (March 2013, Ed. Marysue Rucci, 383 pages)
UK & Comm Oneword
Telling the Bees is narrated by Albert Honig, a never-married octogenarian beekeeper who lives in Orange County California. His family have kept bees since the early days of LA’s Orange County, when it actually had orange groves. With the passing years, he has watched as the groves and farms surrendered to the implacable onslaught of housing developments and freeways. Still residing in the house in which he was born, Albert makes a modest living through his hives, just as his father and his father's father had done before him. Albert's bees are his solace and his sustenance, his only true companions through the years. To the outside world Albert might seem a hollow man, but the truth is he is haunted by a woman: Clara. A friend and neighbour since childhood, Clara's presence - and absence - in Albert's life have never been reconciled.
With echoes of The Remains of the Day, Telling the Bees is a novel about lies of omission and commission; and about the power of truth to both maim and heal. At the heart of the story lies murder; but the heart of the mystery is not so much who did it, as why.