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The beekeeper of Aleppo : a novel

by Lefteri, Christy, 1980-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 25 copies
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Summary
This unforgettable novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable.

"Courageous and provocative, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a beautifully crafted novel of international significance that has the capacity to have us open our eyes and see."--Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Nuri is a beekeeper and Afra, his wife, is an artist. Mornings, Nuri rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, Afra sells her colorful landscape paintings at the open-air market. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo--until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home. But escaping Syria will be no easy task: Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to navigate her grief as well as a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece toward an uncertain future in Britain.

Nuri is sustained only by the knowledge that waiting for them is his cousin Mustafa, who has started an apiary in Yorkshire and is teaching fellow refugees beekeeping. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss but dangers that would overwhelm even the bravest souls. Above all, they must make the difficult journey back to each other, a path once so familiar yet rendered foreign by the heartache of displacement.

Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book for our times: a novel that at once reminds us that the most peaceful and ordinary lives can be utterly upended in unimaginable ways and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten.

Advance praise for The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"This book dips below the deafening headlines, and tells a true story with subtlety and power." --Esther Freud, author of Mr. Mac and Me

"This compelling tale had me gripped with its compassion, its sensual style, and its onward and lively urge for resolution." --Daljit Nagra, author of British Museum

"This novel speaks to so much that is happening in the world today. It's intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant, but very importantly it is accessible. I'm recommending this book to everyone I care about." --Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Refugee Boy
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Afra's vision went dark the moment her son died. The bomb that struck their garden in Syria came after two days of relative peace. Following a harrowing journey that ended in Britain, Afra, now sightless, is staying in a bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Nuri, and other refugees awaiting their fates. In Aleppo, Nuri was a beekeeper with his cousin Mustafa, and the care and tenderness with which they nurtured their bee colonies could not be a greater contrast to the horror and destruction brought by the war. As Afra, once an artist, lost her vision, so Nuri seems to have lost something of himself after the death of their son and their harrowing journey via a smuggler's boat to try to find safety. Nuri's fluid narration merges past and present into a patchwork of memory, pain, loss, and hope, his encounters with other refugees solidifying the suffering of individuals into a larger story of the desolation of displacement. With determination laden in sorrow, Nuri and Afra strive to find their way to a new life and back to each other.--Bridget Thoreson Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Lefteri (A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible) tells a haunting and resonant story of Syrian war refugees undertaking a treacherous journey to possible safety. In 2015, Nuri Ibrahim and his wife, Afra, who was blinded in an incident during the Syrian civil war, cling to their home while everyone else flees the bombings and violence. They are emotionally devastated by the loss and destruction of their neighborhood but decide to seek asylum in the U.K. after soldiers attempt to forcefully recruit Nuri. They travel through harsh conditions in Turkey and Greece, waiting in camps for the proper paperwork and meeting more refugees along the way. Nuri is determined to find his cousin Mustafa in the U.K., where the two men can return to their beloved work as beekeepers. Afra reckons with the reality that she will not be able to continue her life as an artist because of her blindness, and the couple recall painful memories as they are drawn into the agonizing experiences of other refugees. Lefteri perceptively and powerfully documents the horrors of the Syrian civil war and the suffering of innocent civilians. Readers will find this deeply affecting for both its psychological intensity and emotional acuity. (Aug.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Beekeepers -- Fiction.
Refugees -- Syria -- Fiction.
Syria -- History -- Civil War, 2011- -- Fiction.
Political fiction.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 317 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781984821218
1984821210
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