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The History of Bees

Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

Non-member price: $33.21

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Publisher's Summary

In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees - and to their children and one another - against the backdrop of an urgent global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant who sets out to build a new type of beehive - one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao's young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

©2017 Maja Lunde (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The History of Bees

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    4 out of 5 stars

The Hisory of Bees

The history of bees was my first ever audio book and I wasn't disappointed. The narration is great, the three readers all have different accents which really helps to keep track if the changes of characters. Joy Osmamski is really the star narrator in this, she did an excellent job but she does have the best character as well. Her narration was so expressive, I really connected to her character as I listened along. . . This novel takes place over three time periods with each chapter switching between the three characters. The changes are easy to follow and in the end we learn how these three are connected. . . The three eras of this novel are 1852, England where we meet William. William wants to be a researcher but let's his lack of confidence get in the way. 2007, USA where George who is a beekeeper in Ohio struggles against the changes in the world. Finally 2098, China where Tao is employed as a fruit tree pollinator because the choices of the world have lead to the destruction and death of the world's insects. . . Tao is undoubtedly my favourite character, I loved her chapters. She exhibits passion, strength and drive. The other two characters are a bit bland, however if they were the same as Tao this novel wouldn't work. Also William does need to be representative of his era in time. I found him very frustrating with his thoughts and actions but considering he lives in 1852 that makes a sense. . . I guessed how these three were going to fit together early in the story. However, I was still enraptured with the novel until the end. The History of Bees left me pondering my impact on the world and how I could improve/lessen that impact. Personally I love books that make me question my life, if you do as well then you should definetely pick this one up and give it a go.

7 people found this helpful

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long time to get interesting

3 different characters, with stories accross different timelines. They are all connected but we don't know how until the final few chapters. It's a polarising book you'll love it or find it meh. I personally beleive it might be parents who enjoy it a lot more than the childless.

2 people found this helpful

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A keeper

So evocative and within the realms of possibility, it grips and does not let you leave.

1 person found this helpful

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Impossible to walk away

This story is so well told, no one chapter is enough and I forever found myself listening just a bit longer and a bit longer. The characters are so fully individual and whole. When the story is all woven together you see the little similarities that make it the whole journey complete. Fantastic book!

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Doesn’t make sense

Underdeveloped characters who do not turn into anyone interesting. Very well narrated with three aspects of the story being told. People say they connected in the end but it’s not very clear. No I didn’t like the book much, although the bees information was good.

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Fabulous material...shame about the lack lustre ch

oh my lordie. Dreadful characters. I really enjoyed the structure...the story of the bees...but had no empathy for a ny of the characters. ans hard ly any setting.

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wonderful listen

Easy to listen and follow. I loved the characters and their individual stories. really got me thinking about our treatment of the world. A great purchase 😊

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A great story that prompts us to think about an important environmental issue.

I loved this book. I really like that it prompts readers to think about the consequences of a future without bees - an important environmental issue that is rarely considered. The three stories were all great with interesting characters and although they seem so different at the start they cleverly wove together towards the end. A story that explores the relationship between parents and their children against the backdrop of an important issue.

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  • Dianne
  • 22-08-2017

I loved this book !!!

This is the best story I listened to in years. I felt present in all the chapters, as if Maja was talking to me, to my heart. Each era drew me into the story deeper and deeper into the past, present, and future and left me with an amazing hope for the health and beauty of our planet Earth

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tiffany Boyland
  • 22-11-2017

Excellent!

Very moving book and super suitable format for audible with the 3 person storylines. Really enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Malgorzata Kaczmarska
  • 11-01-2018

Boring and predictable.

I bought this book because the brief description of it said "in the spirit of Station Eleven..." - well, it is nothing like Station Eleven! The three stories are boring and very predictable, no real highs and culmination in the entire book. I liked the two male narrators, but not the female one. One good thing about this book: it's beautifully written. Too bad even that doesn't help this book...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-11-2017

Predictable and poorly narrated

I really struggled to finish this story. I didn't like 2 of the 3 narrators. The story went between being predictable and being confusing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claus
  • 23-05-2020

History of stupid men

Well written and well performed. I did not like the main male characters. It was exhausting to spend this much time with them. This was a sad and very realistic story.

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  • Dale
  • 15-09-2019

ReadThisBookAndLearn

This is easily the best, yet most worrisome book I've read in a long time. Love the multi-narrative format. The story is so real, so terrifying of what is happening and of how wholly reliant our existence is interdependent with all other life on this planet. Keep on buzzing, but remember where your honey comes from and at what cost

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  • Chaoslu
  • 12-07-2018

Overrated

This book consists of three storylines. one that plays in the past which is relatively interesting. though most of the interactions described seam robotic and erratic and inconsistent . The second story plays in a roughly now. early 2000. the stroy is not overly interesting. the main character is more of a robot than a human incable of normal human interactions. the third story is terrible it's boring. it's 7h of a mother talking to a toddler than talking to her husband which at times seams mentally challenged. but worst at all the mother she is written horrible (though fantastically acted). all she does is scream a name over 5 hours. my advice skip the third story line. it does nothing for the plot. they are loosely connected and plottwists are obvious. all the review saying politicians and leaders need to read this book are widely exaggerated. this book is fiction with a fundamental if minimal science. now if you read this far you either already bought the book and wanted to see what others though, or more importantly you are on the verge of buying it. if this is the case I would say give it a pass or just skip all of the third future storyline. well this is my opinion yours may be different.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 13-09-2017

Loved it

Absolutely loved this. Wonderfully written and performed. Was truly sad when it ended. Had tones of Station 11, Never Let Me Go with a David Mitchell style but still completely her own. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-06-2018

Dreadful narration!

I couldn’t get past chapter 3. The narration is robotic and difficult to listen to. Such a disappointment as the story seemed interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michael N
  • 01-08-2018

I may have missed the point...

In a nutshell: bygone era chap designs a beehive; current day farmer looses bees to disease and future day agricultural worker suffers a loss due to a bee. For me, too many story threads introduced but not developed. I guess keeping the focus on the three main characters was intentional but that left too many interesting ideas unexplored.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-05-2018

Thought provoking on so many levels

My mind is reeling! What is my contribution to society, what do I want for my children, should I want for my children or allow them to naturally evolve? should I only eat organic, are organic methods enough? Will my failures initiate future generations achievements. Nature should be left to its own devices, it cannot be tamed. Humans greatest mistake is our confidence in managing our environment... Is there hope?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ms M. White
  • 23-04-2018

Amazing and enlightening book

Everyone should read it!! Totally relevant and we could learn a lot from the stories.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter Buchanan
  • 24-10-2017

worse than a handful of dead bees

This book was dreadful. Three bad novellas, each too long, each with characters steeped in self pity, each drab and cheerless. I wouldn't have bothered if this had not been a book group book.

I am not a fan of dystopian gloom, historical fiction and end-of-the-world-is-nigh bad-science fiction. CCD might have been big in 2006 but I am told there hasn't been a case in 5 years. It is a recurring trouble and has been with us for a couple of hundred years. So not just since modern pesticides. I get the feeling the author thought it was a suitably romantic theme to hang her flaccid characters on, ignoring the facts while bleating on about humans creating their own demise. Oddly I think I'd prefer a world where everything was falling to pieces, there wasn't excess cheap food and folk had to work in the fields pollinating trees. But you would have human height trees not full size fruit trees; only a dimwit (author) would have full sized trees for hand pollination. Come on Maja put your thinking cap on.

The structure was absolutely predictable with no surprises. One of the main themes runs parallel to the opening chapters of Coupland's Generation A, but takes an age to unfold and has less to say and fewer dramatic turns.

And some of the worst writing I've listened to in a long time. I was surprised it got published. You have been warned.

3 people found this helpful

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  • PinkyD
  • 16-08-2020

So much to consider

This was a fantastic story. I found myself experiencing real feelings for each character (not always positive either!) They dragged you in compelling you to finish. The fact that the story is something that could and is happening forces you to stop and think. You can see the story unfold and see how easy it would be for this world to become a reality. I would absolutely recommend this book.

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  • B. Smith
  • 24-07-2020

BEEUTIFUL

each story was captivating the overall story educational and the linking genius. A good read.

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  • Charley Farley
  • 25-05-2020

A remarkable book - thank you.

Really interesting the way the three stories evolved ... I highly recommend this book / audible listen.