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Of Bees and Mist

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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,475 Ratings  ·  921 Reviews
Erick Setiawan's richly atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families; their destructive jealousies, their loves and losses, their sacrifices and deeply rooted deceptions, and their triumphs.

Of Bees and Mist is a fable of one woman's determination to overcome the haunting magic that is created by the people she loves and t
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Paperback, 404 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 4th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
Sep 23, 2009 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: table
i wish i liked this more, i truly do. it's in the running for best cover of the year, which is of course why i bought it (in hardcover, before reading any reviews of it, and barely reading the flap-copy) but it seemed like my brand of tea - crumbling houses, family secrets, a touch of magic realism. only it was more than a touch. this is basically a fairy tale. which hit me unexpectedly as i was reading. but it's fine, i acclimate to the tone and continue reading... it's just that it's not very ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Dec 28, 2009 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, recommended
Almost exactly two hours ago, I finished reading OF BEES AND MIST, and I’m still in its spell. Normally I am opposed to writing reviews right after I read a book, because often my opinion of a book needs time to sort of marinate. I tend to get fonder of a book the longer I’ve had to think, but I have to say, my fondness for this book is pretty darn inconsequential. What matters is that this curious novel has dug its way under my skin in a way I can tell will last for quite awhile. Saying that OF ...more
Karen
Feb 04, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved this book
Jen
Page 84 is about as far as I got, although I did flip through looking for something to keep me going. That something, at least for me, wasn't there. Or it was there, but it was hidden in the brambly writing that wanted so badly to be artful and ghostly and embed shards of spooky magic into my heart but heart, my heart, you are so calloused. Book, what is it you really wanted to be? Did I miss it so completely or did you want to be all things and ended up nothing?

This may be my fault. I'm not a
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Anne
May 22, 2016 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It started out as something I thought I would enjoy: a fairy tale for adults. As the story progressed, I started to like it less and less. I don't know if it was partly due to the Dutch translation, but it all felt like the use of language was very cliché and something I could've written myself.
Somewhere halfway through the book, all (to me) irritating things were starting to add up and I was very close to giving up on it entirely. What irritating things you wonder?

1. How many times do you have
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Yolanda Sfetsos
Dec 31, 2010 Yolanda Sfetsos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is Erick Setiawan's first novel. I was so impressed that I can't wait to see what else he's got to offer in the future.

At the core of the story is the life of Meridia and the people who come in and out of her life as she grows from an insecure child, into a very clever and strong woman. It all starts with her very strange parents and the cold house with ghosts in the mirrors and shadows on the walls. Then follows her life with the family she becomes a part of after she marries the love of h
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Jenne
May 28, 2009 Jenne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I really kind of hated this book, but at least it wasn't boring.
I can't imagine why you would dedicate a book to your mother, and then have the whole thing be about two of the worst mothers that have ever existed.
I know I'm always going on about the roles of women in fiction, but seriously, this guy apparently considers women to be barely sentient.
I mean, most of us really have better things to do than try to destroy the lives of everyone around us.
Sarah
Mar 14, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is quite possibly my favorite book ever.

I lament the lack of grown-up fantasy novels, but this book delivers on that an so much more. It's more than just, "Look at this cool world I've thought up" and angst-y love triangles tropes that I see in too many of the stories I read. This book has depth, and the fantastic elements are just metaphors made tangible, a world steeped in magic but still filled with real. human emotions.

The whole book is permeated by the melancholy of lost love. The agai
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Jo Barton
Nov 05, 2009 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jo Barton by: newbooksmagazine
Set against a backdrop of a fantasy world we are introduced to two warring families who live their lives amidst magic and chicanery. Loaded with superstition and alive with intrigue, this is a stunning debut novel. In many ways this magical fantasy has several parallels with our modern world, yet we are never informed of time or place. It could be happening in the past or way ahead into our future. It is quite simply a novel of good versus evil, with the depth of characterisation lending an adde ...more
Quiltgranny
May 25, 2009 Quiltgranny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
What a surprise I received when I started reading this book. I actually was prepared to dislike it because I had read elsewhere that it is a fantasy, and I don't do well with that type of narrative.

BUT - as I continued to read on, the magical became real and accepted not only by the people in the story, but the reader as well. I was not bothered by the mist or the bees, or the fireflies or the "ghosts". Instead I saw them as allegorical for desire/emptiness, hatred, and personal reflections. The
...more
Taryn Pierson
Dec 09, 2015 Taryn Pierson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-of-color
Oh my heart!

I am so, so, SO glad I read this while on Thanksgiving break from work. If I’d tried to read it during the usual midweek hustle-bustle of life, there’s no way I could have slowed down enough to hang with it. And it would have been my loss, because holy peppercorns can Erick Setiawan write.

And that’s pretty cool in itself, because if you read his (very funny) bio, he’s not a native English speaker and has harbored doubts about his writing ability, going so far as to get an advanced de
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Lyn Battersby
I read a lot of Speculative Fiction, so felt a desperate need to dip into something a bit different. The label in the library classified Of Bees and Mist as a family saga, which sounded like the perfect palate cleanser.

To my surprise, Of Bees and Mist turned out not to just be a family saga, but also a fantasy saga. I found myself thoroughly engrossed within a few paragraphs and despite the arrival of a new grandchild in the household, managed to finish it within three days (a record in my house
...more
Harun Harahap
Mar 27, 2011 Harun Harahap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: punya, fiksi, terjemahan
Ekspektasi saya saat membaca buku ini, genrenya adalah fantasi. Karena sepertinya, pertama kali diberitahu seseorang, buku ini ya buku fantasi. Saat membacanya, saya pikir buku ini tidak begitu terasa fantasi. Cerita permasalahan rumah tangga lebih mendominasi daripada fantasinya.

Diceritakan seorang gadis bernama Meridia hidup bersama kedua orang tuanya yang tidak rukun. Ayahnya seorang pendiam dan galak yang saat bepergian selalu diikuti kabut kuning di sore hari. Dan kembali dengan kabut biru
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Maria
Feb 24, 2011 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think my favorite part of this book is the cover, so lovely. Lots of little images hidden in the vines. The story is full of magical realism which is a style I adore. i think it was at its strongest when describing the talents of the people at the market. I really wanted to love the book, but I felt it got weaker as it went on. The dialogue was particularly unconvincing. And while I was excited by the number of female characters in the novel, I was dismayed that the so infrequently felt real. ...more
Sarah
May 18, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Nov 09, 2011 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great novel to study if you need an example of a painfully plodding storyline which conveys not one iota of emotion to the reader. Really. This is everything NOT to do as a writer. It is one of those novels that you want to give up on after page 5, saying--ugh, how did this thing get published?--but which you finish because you have promised your teenaged daughter (who read it) that you would. There are so few things you share with your teenaged daughter these days, and so you read ALL ...more
Darth J
Sep 06, 2013 Darth J marked it as could-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I had heard some really enthusiastic things about this book which made me want to read it, but I couldn't get past the first 50 pages. The parts I read were drowning in purple prose and there was a huge lack of a plot. Nothing was happening and it was just really boring.

The cover is nice and it made me want to buy it (along with all the positive comments I had heard), but the book went nowhere fast and it felt like reading high school poetry in parts. I could feel that the author was setting up
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Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
This is a very hard book to review, since I don't think I've ever read anything else like it, and I'm not likely to in my lifetime. I don't really know how to describe this book. Others have called it magical realism, a fairy-tale, a fable.....and I'm not sure which category this novel seems to fit into. None very cleanly, that is.

Meridia is kind of a lost soul. She is sad and lonely, with very few friends, a cold mother and distant father, and is stuck in an old house with nobody to talk to and
...more
Finooola
Dec 01, 2010 Finooola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I liked this book, but have to give it the the 3-star-treatment thanks to a feeling of ambiguity and loose ends I got from it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed certain ambiguous aspects of it, for example the way it was impossible to fix it in an analogous period in history. What I didn't like was the feeling that the characters were symbolic, and that I didn't grasp of what. In that sense, maybe the book was a bit too smart for me, and if that's the case then I am at fault *hangs head*. However, a ...more
Meagan
Jan 31, 2010 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, book_club
Meridia, the daughter of two distant, distracted, and angry parents, has grown up in a house haunted by an unrelenting cold, mysterious colored mists, apparitions in the mirror, and a staircase that expands and contracts without warning. When she is sixteen she meets and falls in love with Daniel, whose mother Eva becomes the driving force of the novel. Eva dominates and manipulates everyone in her life, and her anger is manifested as a swarm of bees. Meridia and Eva spend the book locked in a b ...more
Elaine
Jun 29, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to believe that this is Erick Setiawan's first book. It is well written with reality, symbolism, mysticism and fantasy. This is not my usual choice of reading material but I found I was drawn into the book by the end of the first chapter. I found it difficult to put down, wanting to figure out the mysterious aspects, and to see what happens to the characters with pity, admiration and hopes of redemption. The writing style is one that I love in a book, because it does not spell out eve ...more
Missy (Missy's Reads & Reviews)
I don't know if I can put into words what this novel has invoked in me, but I have to tell you that this is as close as I've come to a grown-up fairytale in a long time. Set in an unknown land that is similar to our own yet full of magic, Of Bees and Mist takes us on a journey in the lives of three generations of women in one family. The story is primarily told from Meridia's perspective, who is born to parents that soon fall out of love after she is born. She is raised in a house that is consta ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

This is a fairy tale, most certainly. There are mystical happenings and ghosts, mists that carry people away and bees that drive others insane. And there are women, multiple generations of two different families, whose loves and losses, woes and joys are recorded within the pages as well. If you suspend your disbelief and just allow the story to flow over you, you will fall under it's charm. This is an amazing debut novel, strange and beautiful, grim and shining, a morality tale with
...more
Cathie
Feb 21, 2013 Cathie rated it it was amazing
This was an unexpected read that left me speechless once I finished.

A truly crafted fantasy saga (as was mentioned in another reader's review) incorporating the introduction of the bees and mist underlying the characters' despair, torment, allegiance, love and hope.

I was amazed by the overall sense of place, of not naming a specific setting, but then providing specific addresses.

I believe you have to like this genre with its magical realism and speculative fiction elements. That said, a fantas
...more
Kitchengrrl
May 09, 2012 Kitchengrrl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap this book sucked. Read this only if you like listening to people endlessly abusing one another. Keep reading if you like overuse of pointless images. I like magical realism, but I kept waiting for there to be some sort of larger theme or something to tie everything together, and instead, the book just reaches the last page. It doesn't end, it doesn't stop, there's just a last page. Totally, totally lame. I wish I'd stopped listening at the beginning when I'd considered it.
Angela Powell
Jan 30, 2014 Angela Powell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So this is what I've learned about women in reading this book: they're spiteful, abusive, cold and with-holding from their husbands, are the cause of adultery, must be ice queens, servants, or whores, can't have a baby ever...seriously, every birth scene in this book resulted in death, blood, or curses, and every woman was an extreme; absolutely rage-filled or flat and meek and submissive.
Women, in this book, are worried about by others if, after their baby dies, they are no longer interested i
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Erin
Oct 21, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. It took a while to warm into the story. The way it's written is very intriguing. It's like the impressions you get of a dysfunctional household are projected onto magical and mystical things that actually happen. At it's heart, it's still about the ways people who love each other hurt each other. It's a very human story told in a fantastical way.

At the heart of the story is Meridia, a girl who grows up in a house where mysterious things happen: colored mists carry her father away eve
...more
Mindy
Oct 30, 2009 Mindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wow. This was an amazing book. Setiawan weaves a magical story where all the familiar feelings inside relationships take solid form and become almost a character within the story. With vibrant and intoxicating descriptions of mists, menacing bees, ghosts in mirrors and man-beasts, Setiwan creates an allegory for the harshness and tenderness of betrayal, love and finally forgiveness. He hits nerves and exposes the rawness of the emotional centers of his characters in a way that is both heart wren ...more
Lydia Presley
Everything you think you know about reading a story... well, just toss it out the window if you pick up Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. This was one of the most disgusting, thought-provoking, horrible, fascinating and crazy books I've read all year. To give you an idea of how crazy this book was... I read so slow that, at times, I was even going back over certain parts a few times until I finally "got" what Setiawan was trying to do.

As the summary above states, this is a story about three wo
...more
Deanna
Jul 22, 2009 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Of Bees and Mist" made me stop and think about the selfish ways in which both men and women act when they feel their love and trust is being abused and misused. I am always very interested to read books written by men about women and women about men, and I liked the way in which the author interpreted the tangled relationships of men and women, mothers and sons, daughters and mothers / fathers. I also liked the way the story was not necessarily bound to a specific time or place; a universality ...more
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ERICK SETIAWAN was born in 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. A quiet, shy child, he was thankfully raised in a family of gifted storytellers, who taught him that while life might have an endless supply of conflict, not all of it translates into a good story. Due to the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent in Indonesia, his childhood was often fraught with tension, which prompted him to t ...more
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“You don't seem to understand me,' she said. 'The last thing I want is to start over. You can't wake up something that's dead and buried.” 9 likes
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