Updated: Dec 30, 2019
A creative and beautifully written story of a disfigured boy with a language all his own.
The ancient Nana Reja finds a newborn baby boy abandoned under a bridge, and the lives of a family ina small village are changed forever. The baby was disfigured and covered in a living blanket of bees. Little Simonopio was thought by some to be kissed by the devil. But as he grows the Morales family who raises him, finds him to be incredible gifted. When he closes his eyes Simonopio can see visions of the future, both the beautiful and the dangerous. He is followed everywhere by his protective swarm of bees and together they help protect his adoptive family from evil and danger. The novel is set in Linares, Mexico against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Flu of 1918.
“He would have liked to discuss his bees and ask everyone why they didn’t hear them, given that they spoke to the others, too, as they did to him. Had he been able, he would have talked about the song the bees sang into his willing ear about flowers on the mountain, far away encounters, and friends that had not made it on the long journey home; about the sun that would beat down hard one day but be covered in storm clouds the next.”
She had me when Simonopio was found under the bridge covered in bees. His story and that of his younger brother, Francisco Junior is poignant, thoughtful and moving. MURMUR OF BEES is a first rate journey back in time where we encounter the Mexican politics, the culture and a deadly fast-spreading epidemic. But the novel is much more personal than that. It’s about Simonopio, his brother and the adopted family he protects. Simonopio never speaks because of a cleft palate, but he has a language all his own.
It’s creative and beautifully written, with the charm of magically realism. And you won’t be forgetting Simonopio’s unique and sensitive character anytime soon. He can sense danger and evil, but has a deep heart-filled appreciation for the bounty of nature that surrounds him in the hills of the hacienda. My favorite part is that Simonopio is never without the company of at least one or two of his bees, appearing almost as moles on his face. While the story with multiple narrators meanders back and forth like a long and slow winding river, it is well worth the read. It’s a lovely book that ends way to soon, I just wanted more.
SOFÍA SEGOVIA is a best selling author who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. She has written three novels but this is her first to be translated to English. Murmur of the Bees was nominated for the 2019 National Book Awards.
“But let me tell you what I know, what I’ve concluded: it doesn’t matter whether time passes slowly or quickly. What you can be sure of is that, in the end, all you want is to have more.
Publisher AmazonCrossing/Brilliance Audio
Published April 16, 2019
Narrated Xe Sands and Angelo Di Lorerto