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The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read: and Other Stories
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The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read: and Other Stories

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A new collection of short stories by Susan Hill.

A young school boy visiting his aunt's country house finds company and friendship with the gentle beekeeper and begins teaching the man to read, so that it seems nothing can ever intrude upon their closeness.

A young country girl fights against becoming a downtrodden domestic skivvy like her dead mother, while another young
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sep 25, 2012 Cecily rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Having just finished one book of short stories, I didn't expect to follow it with another, but I found this lying around and after I read the very contrasting reviews on GR, decided to make up my own mind before starting something meatier.

They are good, but all are concerned with loss in some form. Poignant, beautiful in places, but not much hope. Some are very affecting; others less so. A good collection, though perhaps not if you are recently bereaved or troubled in some other way.

✟ℜoxanne✟(Death by Book Avalanche)
Well...I finished it but I didn't enjoy it. I found the collection of short stories to be very depressing and once I had finished each one I felt like I had missed the point completely. I just didn't understand them and I found the writing to be quite muddled. I can't decide if it's a case of 'it's not you, it's me', or 'no, it's definitely you...yeesh'.
I picked this up as I enjoyed 'The Woman in Black' but they just can't be compared.
For quite a short book this took me ages to's grea
Deborah Pawley
Feb 24, 2017 Deborah Pawley rated it really liked it
An intriguing selection of fascinating short stories by an exemplary writer.
Mar 04, 2012 Jana rated it really liked it
Dark & darker. Exquisitely written. There are 9 stories, some more memorable than others, but the eponymous story is not to be missed!

Here's a tidbit from ELIZABETH which I thought perfectly captures the regret that the mother has and is pushing off on her daughter:

'"You should travel to other countries, in your years to come. There's a world beyond you must break through."...She could not imagine her own future in this place called 'the world'; she only ever went down inside herself - her w
Mark Nunn
Jan 13, 2011 Mark Nunn rated it it was ok
I have to say I was rather underwhelmed by this book. It's a collection of short stories all with a similar, depressing, ending.

It was well written and enjoyable enough to read but at the end of each story I felt that I had somehow missed the point.
Rashmirekha Basu
Mar 02, 2013 Rashmirekha Basu rated it liked it
Adroitly written short stories from the pen of an author who is known for her concise,incisive writing.The eponymous story is a must-read and there are gems lurking quietly in the others.
"not wanting the future to begin with this one,simple act,of obeying him."
Jan 26, 2010 Lucy rated it liked it
to be honest, the first story left me speechless...
Matthew McKenna
Mar 03, 2017 Matthew McKenna rated it it was ok
I didn't care for some of the stories particularly the last one, but others were great.
Apr 23, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
What a depressing collection of stories! (Hence the 2 stars.) The characters are haunted by ghosts of unpleasant relatives, memories of their childhoods and mostly guilty, bitter or discontent.

If I have to pick the most disturbing story it would be 'Father, Father.' I found it grim from beginning to end and woke after a bad dream which I'm sure was inspired by reading the story before sleep. Not the author's fault of course but this illustrates my dislike of the stories.

The most touching of the
Tim Jinkerson
May 29, 2014 Tim Jinkerson rated it liked it
Grabbed this book fro the library when I was stuck in there during a storm. When I picked the book up I failed to notice that it was a book of short stories! Hence, as I turned to the second 'chapter' I was wondering how these people were going to be brought together with the previous people!

I enjoyed the writing style, but I found each story a little less satisfactory than the last. The first 2 are well worth reading, the 3rd, maybe, but from the on it's pretty much down-hill.
May 26, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, review
More brilliance from the pen of Susan Hill. To write a short story that has any kind of resonance or emotional impact is a lot harder than it sounds. Hill delivers with nearly every story. This collection is perhaps not quite a consistent as her other anthology A Bit of Singing and Dancing but I can't really bring myself to give it four stars as this is still far better than most books that get four stars from me.
Jojo Krubally
Jul 18, 2015 Jojo Krubally rated it it was ok
When I picked this up from the library I had no idea it was a selction of short stories. That isn't obvious so that was a great disappointment to start with. The stories were all really depressing and sad. There wasn't one happy or nice story. The first few stories were readable but after that it's pretty much downhill. The writing itself was sometimes really beautiful and exquisit but at other times I found myself skipping over paragraphs just to get to the end of a pointless story.
Aug 07, 2013 Gareth rated it liked it
I picked up this book in the library thinking it was a novel and was initially disappointed to discover that it was in fact a collection of short stories.

It tells of loss and although the subject matter is inevitably depressing, the sympathetic manner in which it is written helps make the accounts more bearable.

Not a cheerful read but it wouldn't put me off picking up another of Susan Hill's books.
Jan 07, 2009 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2009
This book was a grave disapointment. I usually like Susan Hill stories however this collection of short storys started with a rating of barely 3 and just got worse as the stories progressed.

I am very disapointed.
Sally McRogerson
Jul 24, 2011 Sally McRogerson rated it it was ok
I love short stories and have recently been introduced to this author, but I felt slightly let down by it. It wasn't as good as "Gentleman and Ladies". Maybe she needs a whole book to develop her characters. It was frustrating to have them almost in focus when the story ended...

Although I love Susan Hill's crime novels and her Gothic fiction, I didn't really warm to this collection of short stories.

I am not a huge fan of short stories anyway and these though pleasant enough and certainly well written they just didn't move me.
Luce Cronin
Feb 28, 2016 Luce Cronin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of 9 short stories, all very lyrically written, all dealing with very complex emotions, and all dealing with some form of loss. Enjoyed the writing and the stories themselves - even though none of them leave you with any thoughts of comfort. A disturbing read in many ways
Jan 28, 2012 Emma rated it liked it
First time I've read short stories for ages. Nice to read, but no happy endings! The first is really sad!
Kris McCracken
May 22, 2013 Kris McCracken rated it liked it
Subdued stories that explore loneliness and loss. Bleak. C+.
Matt Hunt
Aug 21, 2015 Matt Hunt rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, short-story
Simple, comfortable, remarkable and odd.
Reading this collection of short stories was like sitting by the fire with a mug of tea in a old woollen jumper on a snowy winters day.
Jul 30, 2015 Katrina rated it it was ok
This collection of short stories is a bit depressing, most of the stories being rather sad or in some way negative, not a great read.
My review is only for "The Boy who Taught the Beekeeper to Read" as I was unable to find a link to just that one story.

Wonderful short story. Heartbreakingly detailed and left me close to tears.
May 12, 2014 Stacey rated it liked it
Not as captivating as' the woman in black' or 'The man in the picture'.
Feb 02, 2008 Jasmine rated it really liked it
The eponymous story killed me.
Henry Tegner
I downloaded this single story from the collection on to my Kindle. Prose OK. It was good, but not great.
Sep 26, 2007 Bron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: passed-on
two stories in and I'm not really enjoying it. The author depicts people's miseries and sorrows only too well.

I must admit to gining up on this book and I've given it away.
Kasturika Samanta
Kasturika Samanta rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2017
Lucy Mason
Lucy Mason rated it it was ok
Jul 06, 2012
Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2016
Amanda Harman
Amanda Harman rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2013
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Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor
More about Susan Hill...

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“Some people make tunes, but it is lines that run like moving messages through my head. Whatever else I am saying and doing often has no bearing on this inner, verbal life.” 4 likes
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