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Klimakvartetten #1

The History of Bees

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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, to their children, and to 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 he 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.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published August 1, 2015

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About the author

Maja Lunde

25 books959 followers
Maja Lunde is a Norwegian author and screenwriter. Lunde has written ten books for children and young adults. She has also written scripts for Norwegian television, including for the children’s series Barnas supershow (“The Children’s Super Show”), the drama series Hjem (“Home”) and the comedy series Side om Side (“Side by Side”). The History of Bees is her first novel for adults. She lives with her husband and three children in Oslo.

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5 stars
9,101 (24%)
4 stars
15,721 (41%)
3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,511 reviews
Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews686 followers
October 19, 2019
Actual rating: 2.5 🌟's

Unfortunately, this was a bit of a disappointment for me. I heard so many raving reviews about this book, so I totally expected this to really draw me in and leave a lasting impression, but that didn't really happen. Mostly this was down to the characters. I didn't get a good grip on them; they stayed very two-dimensional throughout the entire book. This is a shame, because I feel that a deeper connection to the characters would have changed my feelings drastically.

The story is told from three different points of view, each taking place in a different time period. I found all of the individual stories interesting, but none of them really pulled on my heartstrings, despite having the potential to do so. Again, this is where a better character development and deeper look into their lives and feelings would have been needed.
The chapters were all pretty short, which was another thing that bothered me (and I normally love short chapters!). Whenever the really interesting stuff seemed to start (a discovery, a new idea, etc.), the chapter ended and the point of view changed. And when the story turned back to a character, time had already passed and the chapter picked up after all the exciting stuff had already happened and all you can read about now is the conclusions and the further actions the character is taking. Longer chapters would have been so much better! I needed more feelings and thoughts and emotions!

I heard so many critics talking about how "important" this book is. I do agree that the topic is very important, but the book itself? Not really. I could have gone without reading it, because I didn't see any real exploration on why bees dying would be a horrible thing to happen. Like yeah, the world doesn't seem to be such a nice place in the year 2098, but how exactly does this all relate to the bees? I needed more answers...

The reason I decided to give this book 2.5 stars nonetheless, is the fantastic writing style. Maja Lunde certainly knows how to use words, which made for a very pleasing and "comfortable" reading experience, and I stayed interested in the topic and the three different life stories the whole way through. However, I would love her writing even more if she put a bit more feeling into it and gave her characters more depth.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,739 reviews14.1k followers
September 21, 2017
3.5 Three stories that are connected, though how is not apparent until book's end. 1851, William, 2007, George and 2098, Tao, tied together by their dependency on bees. In 2098, the bees have all been wiped out, in China they pollinate by hand, a labor intensive endeavor. Each of these three have sons, so this is also very much about the bond and expectations between parent and child.

Very slow start to this book, was tempted to put it down, but I have a profound interest in our environment, especially after the fires, storm, hurricanes and earthquakes that have ravaged so many areas. The lessening of the bee population has been on our nightly news, and it is something I have noticed myself in the area in which I live. Without bees and their pollination our food sources will collapse, the world as we know it unrecognizable, which is what happens in this novel. So I kept reading, and soon became better acquainted with these characters and how the author was putting her story together. This book is not fun to read, it is rather grim, us screwing up our environment could be nothing less, but also I think important.

The ending was so fitting, and though sad, also ends with a ray of hope. It all ties together, all three stories,and in a round about way comes full circle. Rather ingenious. A book I ended up glad I had read.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books25.4k followers
March 1, 2018
رواية لا تُنسى، ومن أجمل ما قرأت. هي من ذلك النوع الناعم الذي يمنحك البصيرة ويريك عوالم غير مسبوقة. أحببتها وممتنة للترجمة البديعة.

تمنّيتُ ألا تنتهي.
4 reviews3 followers
January 13, 2016
I felt it was too simplistic. I never really connected with any of the three stories. I kept waiting for a plot twist or something that would really catch me, either emotionally or intellectually, but it continued straight all the way to the end. The characters lack depth and everything is over-explained. The ending attempts to bring together the threads, but it feels more like an afterthought to tidy up loose ends, and not something that touches upon the core of the story.
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews299 followers
September 16, 2017
Without bees, the flowers were just flowers, not blueberries, not bread and butter.

3.5 Stars. The three protagonists are multiple generations apart, but their lives are all linked by the fate of bees:

• Sichuan, China in 2098: Pollinating insects completely disappeared from Earth over half a century before, so humans have assumed the bees' role. In order to survive, humans have refined the arduous process of hand-pollination. Children are trained for the job as soon as they enter school and begin working in the fields when they turn eight years old. Like any parent, Tao wants her three-year-old son Wei-Wen to have more opportunities than she did. She spends her rare time off teaching him so that he can attend a special leadership-training school and avoid a lifetime of back-breaking labor. When Wei-Wen mysteriously collapses and is whisked away by the authorities, everything changes. Tao blames herself because she thinks it's her dreams for him that caused the accident. She's willing to sacrifice everything to find him.

• Hertfordshire, England in 1851: William is a biologist whose academic specialty is superorganisms. Superorganisms are individual insects that function together as a single organism; they need each other in order to survive as a whole. William sank into a deep depression after his mentor belittled him for sacrificing his life's work to have a large family. When his passion reignites, he becomes obsessed with building the perfect beehive, one that will benefit both the beekeepers and the bees. He wants his son Edmund to continue his research, but Edmund is disinterested in his father's attempts to lure him into the family business. William's obsession with making his son carry on his legacy prevents him from seeing the true heir to his research.

• Ohio, USA in 2007: George descends from a long line of beekeepers. He devotes his entire life to his bee farm and ensuring his bees are thriving. He wants his son to take over the farm, but his son is more interested in his college studies and cultivating his writing career. The stress of bee farming increases when bee colonies begin disappearing in the southern USA. While his bees are doing fine so far, the future of his farm becomes uncertain.
She read about knowledge. About acting against one’s instincts, because one knows better, about how in order to live in nature, with nature, we must detach ourselves from the nature in ourselves. And about the value of education. Because this was what education was actually about, defying the nature in oneself. 

The History of Bees is about letting go and resisting the impulse to exert control over everything. Every parent and mentor in this book has a fixed vision for their child's or apprentice's future. There seems to be the expectation that the next generation "justify [their] position on this earth." Trying to tame the natural order has disastrous consequences. Each character has a firm idea of their child's place in the universe and the means through which that place will be achieved, but it's not until they relax their control that they are able to gain clarity. One major lesson is that one doesn't have to choose between life and passion. Sometimes that passion is our contribution to our families and the future.

A single person’s life, a single person’s flesh, blood, body fluids, nerve signals, thoughts, fears and dreams meant nothing. My dreams for [my son] didn’t mean anything, either, if I failed to put them into a context and see that the same dreams had to apply to all of us.

There are so many beautiful moments of interconnection throughout the story. Tao decorates her son's room with fluorescent star stickers that used to adorn her own childhood room. She feels as if she created "a bond between my own childhood and his, between us and the world, between the world and the universe." On a larger scale, there's a moment when Tao watches a documentary about the beekeepers who were affected by Colony Collapse Disorder. History comes alive for her. At another time she may have thought the interviews were just "testimonies from another time" from "people who had nothing to do with [her]," but with experience she realizes that "every single personal catastrophe meant [her] own."

"And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." What did that mean? That he who is captive is perhaps the only one who is truly free? Doing the right thing can be a prison, a form of captivity, but we had been shown the way. Why didn’t we manage it, then? Not even in meeting with His creation did human beings succeed in doing the right thing.*

This book was originally published in Norwegian, but I read the English translation. I chose this book because I love dystopian fiction and the "in the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go" blurb called my name. I can see the Station Eleven comparison more clearly than Never Let Me Go. The thing that draws me to Kazuo Ishiguro's work is the haunting, melancholic atmosphere and I just didn't get that from this book. 

I debated on whether to round my star rating up on down. I decided to round up because somehow it managed to worm its way into my heart! The downsides of this book were the pacing and some of the characterization. It was slowly paced at times, so my interest waxed and waned. It occasionally comes across as a "message" book, but it's not overly heavy-handed. It almost had a YA feel to it—especially George's chapters—even though there are no young adult main characters. (I found out after writing this review that this is the author's first novel for adults.) Tao was my favorite of the three perspectives. She felt the most human, while William and George felt like characters. Even though the male characters didn't feel as authentic to me, they still had interesting stories. William is strange and insufferable, but his passion for the natural world is contagious. Some of my favorite chapters were actually in his sections, when he talks about the lifecycle of bees (at the 45% & 87% mark of my copy). George is old-fashioned and set in his ways. He's never able to say the right thing. His folksy simplicity didn't always ring true to me, but I could understand the dreams and fears that motivated his actions and resentments.

Alone she’s nothing, a part so tiny that it’s insignificant, but with the others she’s everything. Because together they’re the hive.

In The History of Bees, the author draws "connections between the small and the large, between the power of creation and creation itself." Every living thing in this book is "fighting the ordinary, daily struggle" for their descendants and survival. The three protagonists are decades, sometimes centuries, apart. They don't know each other and they may not live to realize how essential their contributions were, but together they make a huge impact on mankind's fate. The characters' lives and the lives of their offspring didn't go as planned, but their creative solutions influence humanity's future path. This book gave me a larger appreciation for all those who've come before us and made an impact on our lives, even if they would never get a chance to benefit from it.

* My biblical knowledge is lacking, so I wanted some more context with this quote. This sermon helped me out: Slaves of Righteousness, Romans 6:19-23. It also has some analysis of 1984 and Brave New World, which was interesting!
* A reassuring article to read after reading this book: Bees Are Bouncing Back From Colony Collapse Disorder.

I received this book for free from Netgalley and Touchstone. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available August 22, 2017!
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
January 16, 2018
All over the world, the bees are dying. Despite considerable research, we don't really know why; it seems to be a combination of several different causes. Evidently, this is not good. But what does it mean in emotional terms? What would be an appropriate way to feel? Having read Maja Lunde's elegant and beautiful novel, I can suggest some possible answers:

- It might feel like being hungry and knowing you're never going to get enough to eat.

- It might feel like helplessly watching your partner becoming progressively more estranged from you, until you can no longer touch them or even talk to them.

- It might feel like discovering that your life work, everything you've ever tried to do, was a waste of time and you might as well not have bothered.

- It might feel like realising that your child has been taken away, and nothing you can do will ever bring them back.

But it's worse than any of those things.
Profile Image for Mohamed Al.
Author 2 books4,832 followers
December 11, 2017
لا بد أن البعض منكم، خصوصا إذا كان شقيًا مثلي في طفولته، تعرّض إلى لسعة مؤلمة من نحلة غاضبة بعد أن نكش خليتها بطرف عصا أو رماها بقطعة حجر. ولا بد كذلك أن البعض منكم تمنى مثلي، وهو يمسح بقايا المخاط والدموع من على وجهه، بينما تدلك والدته مكان لسعة النحلة لو اختفى هذا النحل الشرير من العالم!

تذكرت أمنيتي الطفولية تلك وأنا ألتقط هذه الرواية التي ترجمتها دار المنى مؤخرًا، وكُتب على غلافها الغلفي بأنها "رواية ذكية ورائعة"، وقلت لنفسي يبدو أن هذه الكاتبة، والتي لا بدّ وأنّها تعرّضت للسعة نحلة في طفولتها، لم تكتفِ بأمنية، كما فعلت أنا، ولكنها ذهبت أبعد من ذلك وتخيلت عالمًا بدون نحل ... انتقامًا منه ربّما كما ظننت في بادئ الأمر.

لكن ما لم يُكتب على الغلاف الخلفي، ولا الأمامي، وتجب كتابته هنا .. هو أنّ هذه الرواية بقدر ما هي موجعة كلسعة النحل، إلا أنها لذيذة جدًا كعسله. والمؤلفة لم تكتب الرواية انتقامًا من النحل، بل افتح أعيننا على الكارثة التي تهدد وجوده بسبب الاستخدام المفرط للمبيدات وانتشار الآفات الدخيلة، والتي بدأت فعلًا بالتأثير على أعداده التي بدأت بالتناقص كثيرًا منذ عام ٢٠٠٦.

يُمكن لرواية "حين اختفى النحل" أن تُقرأ على عدة مستويات، فهي رواية ديستوبية مروعة تصور لنا كيف سيبدو العالم لو اختفى النحل، وهي رواية تاريخية وعلمية تسرد لنا المحاولات البشرية الأولى لترويض النحل (إن جاز التعبير)، وهي هجاء سياسي مرير للأنظمة التي تحول المجتمعات إلى آلات صمّاء، كما أنها رواية رمزية ذكية تؤكد فكرة خلود الكتب .. الورقية منها تحديدًا.

على الرغم من وجود العديد من الشخصيات الرئيسية التي سنكتشف كيف تتقاطع مصائرها في نهاية الرواية إلا أن النحل هو الشخصية الرئيسية، وحضوره في الرواية حضور إيجابي، على نحو ما، فالنحل هو من يُخرج "ويليام" من كآبته في إنجلترا عام 1852، وهو الذي يعيد ترتيب العلاقة بين "جورج" وابنه "توم" في أمريكا عام 2007، وهو الذي يدمّر ومن ثم يعيد بناء حياة "تاو" في الصين عام 2098.

إنها بالفعل، كما كُتب على غلافها الخلفي، رواية رائعة وذكية.

Profile Image for Tanja Berg.
1,866 reviews426 followers
April 29, 2017
Rating 4* out of 5. Read in Norwegian. I feel a teeny weeny bit foolish reviewing this book in English, since it hasn't yet been released in any other country. It's been sold to several and it certainly has international appeal, and thus, I choose to review in English anyway.

This is probably the most un-Norwegian book by a Norwegian author I have ever read. It works though. The book is beautifully written and a joy to read for sheer composition. There are three different plots on different timelines - William in 1952, trying to figure out a more sensible bee cube. George in 2007, who is experiencing colony collapse disorder and has troubled relations with his son. Tao in 2098, a time when all the bees are gone, there are world-wide food shortages and all farm plants have to be hand pollinated. The plotlines converge in the end. They all involve bees so there is coherence in them from the start anyway.

The book deals with family dysfunction as much as with bees. There is a strong voice of criticism raised against mono-culture farming. It is truly amazing that so few can feed so many, but the system we have set up is largely based on poison and quite fragile. I don't have any solution up my sleeve, we cannot feed 7 billion people with ecological farming.

So this book mixes historical fiction with futuristic dystopia. It's unusual, but it works. It's a beautifully written novel exploring relationships between people and people and ecology. Easily read, but not easily forgotten. The book leaves us to consider what we can do for a more sustainable future.
Profile Image for Henk.
851 reviews
May 24, 2022
Three interconnected stories take us from 19th century England, to 2007 US and 2098 China. Bees play a central role in all timelines, as does the fraught relationships between men and women, generations and of humans to something greater than themselves
I thought I had to choose, but I could manage both, both life and passion

The History of Bees was despite being written in a manner that I really enjoy, through 3 interconnected stories, more close to 3.5 than a full 4 star rating for me.

We have William in 1800’s England, living after a psychological breakdown and being frustrated by too many children and too little scientific achievement.

George, a 2007 rural farmer in the US who struggles to connect with his university going son.
He has epic sentences like: Wasn’t Ethiopia in Africa around that time

Tao, in 2098 China, is frustrated by the lack of progress her child is making. She works as an artificial pollinator since the insect collapse that brought down most of the democratic world.

Disappointment and children seem a recurring theme in the writing that Maja Lunde presents to us in this book. Only slowly do the three stories weave together. I felt Tao her story was weakest, with quite some weird scenes in abandoned city scapes that I found rather illogical. It doesn’t matter what happens to us. is a thought, quite reminiscent to a beehive worker, that she expresses near the end of the book, and due to her not being fleshed out as successfully as I'd like to have seen, I almost felt in agreement with the statement.

George his story was well done, since one does start to sympathize, while acknowledging he is quite annoying and headstrong, with this hillbilly kind of character. Especially the parallel parking crisis he experiences just for an important discussion with the bank is endearing, as is the way Lunde makes it clear how modern life is just passing him by.

William his story was oke, but not particularly memorable for me. I enjoyed his interiority and doubts on his role as the head of a Victorian family, and how it doesn't convey a regular story of success, but he also seems particularly thick at times and non-observant.

An enjoyable enough read on an important subject, but I expected more based on the blurb that compared the book to Station Eleven. Now I felt a bit like having read a less successful version of The Hours, due to the three intertwined storylines, and I wasn't fully convinced about each of the stories on a seperate basis.
Profile Image for Marius Citește .
164 reviews172 followers
April 12, 2019
Un trecut, un prezent si un viitor distopic.

Maja Lunde poarta cititorul prin trei epoci diferite: incepand din Anglia victoriana, trecand prin America zilelor noastre si pana in viitor in China anului 2098, un viitor in care albinele au disparut precum si consecintele disparitiei acestora.

Sunt trei personaje principale in roman: William - un comerciant britanic de la mijlocul sec. al XIX-lea, George - un apicultor contemporan din Midwest SUA si Tao - o tanara mama din China anului 2098, care petrece ore in sir polenizand manual florile pomilor dintr-o livada.

Pe cei trei ii leaga probleme existentiale cauzate de lipsa albinelor din viata lor, precum si relatia parinte-copil: William si fiul lui, Edmund, care o ia pe cai gresite si ajunge sa sfârșească tragic; George, care trăiește în zilele de început ale dezastrului ecologic din Statele Unite, se luptă să-și mențină albinele, în timp ce respinge noile tehnici agricole, menite să eficientizeze procesul de apicultură. Este dezamăgit de fiul său Tom, care a plecat recent la facultate și pare complet dezinteresat de profesia tatălui său, și mult mai mult decat atat, este atras de dorinta a urma un doctorat. Ambii fii fiind asadar neinteresati sa preia si sa continue pasiunea tatilor lor pentru apicultura.

Povestea lui Tao este cea care deschide romanul fiind si cea mai captivanta dintre cele trei, si are loc dupa dezastrul mondial prin care albinele au disparut. Pe langa stresul si epuizarea cauzate de munca ei (polenizarea manuala a florilor copacilor, pentru ca acestia sa poata da roade mai departe), Tao se străduiește să ii ofere o viață mai buna fiului său de trei ani, Wei-Wen, iar încercările sale de a-i oferi cea mai bună educație copilului îi afecteaza relatia cu sotul ei, Kuan. Când Wei-Wen dispare în mod misterios (dupa un picnic luat in natura impreuna cu parintii, acesta este gasit dupa putin timp inconstient), Tao porneste in cautarea baiatului in capiatala Beijingului care este afectata de Colaps dupa producerea dezastrului ecologic.

Un roman vizionar ce tratează relatiile dintre părinți si copii si care te pune pe ganduri imediat ce l-ai terminat.
Profile Image for Alex.
479 reviews104 followers
December 15, 2017
I am somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. At first I liked the three apparently different stories. But as I read, I got annoyed and bored. I think one of the main tasks of a writer is to keep the readers interested. This is the difficult job. Lundes message is good and the idea how to present it was also innovative. But i think the whole story would have made a more powerful impression, if the book had been smaller. I think sometimes, that the authors are trying to create atmosphere, and that is why they write stuff which apparently has nothing to to with the main story. But Lunde, as some other authors, that I read, did before her, wrote page after page and dialogues without any purpose. Descriptions of doing this and doing that, one page full, which have no point but to bore the hell out of the reader.
Tao Story - very interesting dystopy, I liked the idea a lot. But come on - there is sooooo long-winded. Plus, I came up with the child's diagnostic quite early, so the whole story had no point for me anymore.
George Story - the main idea, the desaster, is happening somewhere after dull pages presenting the work as a beekeeper. She tried to make it interesting by presenting the whole father son relationship, but there was no drama, no nothing to keep the reader interested. Me at least.
William Story - boring presentation of depression or some sort of psychiatric problem the guy had.
All the characters are superficially presented, the language is mediocre and, I have to say, I was glad when it was over.
1 star for the dystopy idea and for the whole idea in general. 1 star for the infos about bees. 1 star for presenting a potential desastrous future that is not far from the reality. And the whole 3 stars and not 2 for not making me aggresive as other books i read in the last months.
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
906 reviews279 followers
January 25, 2018
This is wonderful!
By a Norwegian novel debut author, Maja Lunde; translated from Norwegian The History of Bees is really well written. While I give 80% of that credit to Lunde, a bit of credit is due to the translator Diane Oatley.
Following three different timelines, all related to bees in some way, this is a literary masterpiece.

The three settings
We have 1898, 2007 and 2089 as our time periods. Set in completely different parts of the world as well; England, USA and China respectively.
Of course the future timeline starts off the most interesting because we get to learn what Lunde sees as our (and the bees) world in 80ish years. As always it's a bit bleak.
In 2007 we are treated to honey production at the farm scale (not industrial) but still as the main income source. And of course, anyone who is aware of the bee situation today knows that this was around the time colonies were starting to suddenly collapse with no reason.
The past starts off slow but becomes really interesting as a man with an awful lot of children starts innovating his own type of beehive. The innovation is to allow for easier harvesting of the honey that doesn't require as many bees dying when you open the hive to harvest.

This is where Lunde really excels. Her characters are so life-like. The point of views (one per timeline) we are treated to are parents with children at various ages. Relationships between parents and their children are what The History of Bees is really about; and what makes it a solid 'typical book club' pick.
In all cases the parents wish better for their children, or at least speak of a legacy to help their children have better lives than their own in the future. A very typical parental obsession; but portrayed here in a way which even adults without children (like myself) can understand and appreciate.

It's all about the bees
I've looked into a small beehive for our yard before with no success because we don't think we can meet the space regulations. So going into this I knew a teeny tiny bit about colony collapse disorder (CCD).
Now after reading this I'm determined to have a hive at some point under my care. The bees are the link between our three timelines but they are also the link to humanity's survival. Pollination is key for most fruits and many other food sources to grow. Now let's be specific here for a minute we are talking about honeybees. There are lots of kinds of bees but the ones that are critical make the honey.

It's clear, even to a very amateur prospective beekeeper, that Lunde has done her homework here. Everything that happens in the 2007 timeline has already happened and her descriptions and explanations of the situations are anything but boring. Most of our characters are in love with bees and so they speak or think passionately about it. With just the right amount of truth and science built in. A very enjoyable way to learn about honey bees!
So for me the book felt like it was all about the bees (and bees are what drew me to it). Even though the bees are the link across time, the reality is that The History of Bees is about people coping with being a parent in their given timeline. The bees just make it sweeter.

The History of Bees was effortless to read. The characters and settings seemed to leap off the page for me. With the addition of a very relevant, important and interesting topic of bees thrown in this was a lovely piece of literature and one I look forward to adding to my print book collection (the next time I'm at a bookstore). In my book collection these days there is no higher honour than being an ebook or review copy that I read and decide to buy a print copy of. Lunde has earned this honour and I can't wait to read her next novel.

For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Lost In My Books.
257 reviews125 followers
August 18, 2020
description"Jedna pszczoła bowiem jest niczym, cząstką tak małą, że całkiem pozbawioną znaczenia, natomiast razem z innymi jest wszystkim. Bo razem stanowią pszczelą rodzinę."

Ta książka przewijała mi się naprawdę wiele razy, dużo osób mówiło o niej naprawdę pozytywnie, ale bałam się po nią sięgnąć, bo odnosiłam wrażenie, że może być nudna. Aż pewnego dnia (1,5 miesiąca temu) jakoś nagle naszła mnie ochota na nią i zrobiłam spontaniczny zakup. Czy żałuję? Absolutnie nie!

Historia tej powieści toczy się w trzech wiekach. Na początku poznajemy przyszłość w roku 2098, główną bohaterką jest Tao, która pracuje od rana do wieczora przy ręcznym zapylaniu drzew, ponieważ wszystkie pszczoły na świecie wyginęły. Pewnego dnia ginie jej synek i Tao wyrusza na poszukiwania, a to na co trafi będzie przełomowe dla ludzkości.
Następny bohater to Wiliam z roku 1852, pracuje nad pewnym projektem, nie wie tylko, że w innej części świat ktoś wpadł na ten sam pomysł.
I ostatnia nasza postać to Geogre z 2007 r., prowadzi on hodowlę pszczół i z całego serca pragnie by jego syn odziedziczył po nim farmę, niestety Tom ma zupełnie inne plany. W dodatku pszczoły zaczynają stopniowo na całym świecie wymierać.

Historia każdej z tych osób jest naprawdę bardzo ciekawa i naprawdę nie potrafię wybrać, która bardziej mi się podobała. Śledziłam losy każdego z nich z równym zainteresowaniem. Najlepsze jest to, że autorka stworzyła bohaterów bardzo realistycznych i naprawdę dobrze nadała im cechy charakteru.

Książka miała być o pszczołach, a tak naprawdę one są tylko tłem całej fabuły. Dobrym tłem. Śledzimy życie i losy bohaterów, które po prostu są powiązane z pszczołami. Ale to nie jest wada, lecz zaleta. Chciałabym częściej trafiać na powieści z dobrym tłem fabularnym. Szkoda tylko, że autorka nie nadała więcej dramatyzmu w związku z utratą pszczół, bo jednak one są najważniejszą częścią naszego życia, więc byłoby dobrze, gdyby ta katastrofa była bardziej dramatyczna, może byśmy bardziej zdawali sobie z tego sprawę.
W ,,Historii pszczół" nie ma jakiejś porywającej akcji, ale o dziwo książka nie nudzi. Śledzenie losów bohaterów naprawdę absorbuje. Nie próbowałam nawet myśleć, jak to wszystko się skończy, czytałam ją i dałam się porwać opowieści, tak po prostu. I chociaż książkę czyta się naprawdę szybko, to przeczytanie jej zajęło mi kilka dni, nie chciałam jej szybko skończyć, chciałam się nią delektować, dłużej zostać z bohaterami, tak aby nigdy nie zapomnieć tej historii. Podkreślę, że jest ona również pełna emocji.
Naprawdę cieszę się, że kupiłam ją i poznałam tę piękną, sączącą i mądrą powieść. Autorka napisała kawał wyśmienitej lektury.
Profile Image for Semjon.
638 reviews327 followers
July 21, 2017
Ich habe lange zwischen 2 und 3 Sternen geschwankt und mich nun letztlich für die bessere Note entschieden, weil das Buch durchaus unterhaltsam geschrieben ist. Zudem mag ich es, wenn verschiedene Handlungsstränge neben her laufen und am Ende verwoben werden. Zudem wird ein interessantes Thema mit dem Bienensterben aufgegriffen. So viel zu den positiven Aspekten.

Ich war aber auch enttäuscht von dem Buch, denn der Titel lässt vermuten, dass die ökologischen Aspekte der Bienen und die Konsequenzen ihres möglichen Aussterbens für die Menschheit und die Flora, stärker im Mittelpunkt stehen. Hier hat aber die Autorin ihren Schwerpunkt nicht darauf gelegt, denn ihr sind die drei Einzelschicksale wichtiger in der Darstellung. Lunde ist eigentlich eine Kinder- und Jugendbuchautorin und so kam mir das Buch auch vor. Das soll jetzt gar nicht abwerten klingen. Empfängergerechter Schreibstil ist generell wichtig. Mir waren die Sätze aber zu einfach und zu kurz gehalten. Man könnte jetzt sagen, dass William, George und Tao, ihre Geschichten ja quasi selbst aus der POV-Sichtweise erzählen und ihre Art Tagebucheinträge in der einfachen Sprache authentisch sind. Wenn ich aber Authentizität will, dann kann ich nicht William im Jahr 1852 dieselbe Sprache sprechen lassen wie Tao im Jahr 2098. Vielleicht bin ich da aber auch von der hohen literarischen Qualität des Wolkenatlas geprägt, der auf geniale Weise die Sprache an die Zeit anpasst.

Fazit: ein unterhaltsames Buch, das man am besten ohne große Erwartungen an Stil und Hintergrund lesen sollte. Stattdessen einfach nur die locker leichte Erzählung genießen.
Profile Image for Rachel.
198 reviews5 followers
October 7, 2017
1 1/2 stars.

Obviously, I wanted to like this book. I don't go out and buy new hardback books that cost me over $20 each to hate them. I loved the idea behind this book - three timelines that fleshed out a history of bees: one of which takes place in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. Unfortunately, the concept behind this book is its only redeeming quality.

This novel is told from 3 perspectives - William's timeline takes place in 1852, George's timeline takes place in 2007, and Tao's timeline takes place in 2098. I would like to emphasize that these are three characters from three different time periods and three different countries. Yet, all of their voices blend together. Despite the fact that these characters should easily be distinguishable, they all end up sharing the same goals, personalities, marital problems, and unhealthy relationships with their children.

William has a strained marriage with his wife, Thilda, and has a bizarre obsession with making his son, Edmund, proud - a character completely lacking in redeeming qualities or, really, any qualities (outside of the fact that he's an alcoholic). His obsession with Edmund endures, even though his daughter, Charlotte, is far more eager for his approval and worthy of adoration. Though William has 8 children - 1 boy and 7 girls - he barely ever thinks about his daughters (besides Charlotte, who he only gave attention to because she worked so hard to be close to him).

George is a bee keeper in the present day. The bee colony issues - or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - that are prevalent during George's timeline are directly connected to life during Tao's timeline. George's relationship with his son, Tom, is a difficult one - since Tom has dreams of being a writer, while George wants Tom to continue the family legacy of bee keeping. George's relationship with Tom is less bizarre than William's strange obsession with Edmund - but it is every bit as unhealthy as George obsesses over the continuation of his legacy, even at the cost of Tom's own dreams. As a result of the events in George's timeline, his marriage is also strained.

Tao is a worker in China, circa 2098. She, too, wants her son, Wei-Wen, to aspire to greatness. An incident occurs that puts Wei-Wen's life in jeopardy and he is taken away to a hospital in Beijing where his fate is uncertain. As a result of Wei-Wen's health concerns, Tao's marriage also suffers. Out of the three protagonists, Tao's motivations make the most sense and are the most authentic. However, make no mistake, all three of these characters are frustrating and selfish.

Another big issue that I had with the characters was the fact that though 2/3 of the narrators were men, their voices simply did not ring true. I was very conscious of the fact that a woman was writing these characters. In addition to my issues with the male narrators, the dialogue often came across as forced - if not just down right awkward.

Needless to say, I did not enjoy this book. If it hadn't been for my desire to get my money's worth out of this book, I would have DNF'd it before the halfway point. Regardless, I ended up skimming through at least half of this novel. While I am still very much interested in stories about bees - because they really are of immense importance, which this novel does manage to express - I would not recommend picking up this novel if that is your motivation. Actually, I wouldn't recommend picking up this novel at all - I found it to be a total waste of time.
Profile Image for Książkomanka.
244 reviews243 followers
June 2, 2021
4.5 / 5 ⭐

To było niesamowite doświadczenie. Czytałam tę książkę miesiąc, ale zdecydowanie było warto. Ta książka jest ucztą dla zmysłów. Dla mnie, jako osoby kochającej pszczoły, była niezwykle fascynująca. Dodatkowo aspekt relacji rodziców z dziećmi... Świetny. Pokazuje, że rodzice nie zawsze wiedzą jak się zachować, dzieci nie zawsze spełniają oczekiwań rodziców, że życie nie jest kolorowe, ale zarówno dzieci, jak i rodzice się kochają, nawet gdy coś ich poróżni. Ta książka pokazuje również, że człowiek niedocenia darów jakie daje mu planeta i może pewnego dnia je stracić a wtedy każdy dzień będzie walką o przetrwanie, a świat ludzi pogrąży się w chaosie. Moim zdaniem ta książka porusza tak wiele istotnych aspektów, że można by o niej rozmawiać godzinami. Wspaniała, nietypowa, pouczająca.
Profile Image for teach_book.
309 reviews634 followers
May 8, 2021
4,5 🌟

Ludzkie historie połączone ważnym elementem - pszczołami. Większość z Nas powinna tę książkę przeczytać, aby zrozumieć do czego nieuchronnie zmierzamy. Katastrofa ekologiczna jest tak blisko...

Bardzo podobał mi się podział na 3 linie czasowe, które miały na siebie ogromny wpływ. I bohaterowie... jednych miało się ochotę przytulić, a drugich złapać za bary i potrząsnąć.

"Każda pojedyncza pszczoła pracuje dla ludu, dla wszystkich, dla organizmu, który razem tworzą."
Profile Image for Arbuz Dumbledore.
326 reviews261 followers
July 14, 2021
Naprawdę zastanawiam się, czy na ocenę tej książki nie wypływa psychologia tłumu, przynajmniej po części. Bo oceny ma z kosmosu, tak wysokie, że szukałam w niej czegoś więcej, niż to, co rzeczywiście dostałam, bo przecież "te oceny nie wzięły się znikąd", może ja czegoś nie rozumiem, może nie mam gustu, bo przecież powinna mi się spodobać, tak jak reszcie. Nie było tak. Teraz, pisząc tę recenzję, też nacisnęłam dwie gwiazdki i podczas pisania uświadomiłam sobie, że to wbrew sobie, bo nie uważam, żeby na tyle zasłużyła. I nie twierdzę, że inni się mylą, a ja mam rację albo że wszyscy kłamią. Ale uważam, że pewnie spora część osób w obawie przed krytyką i ze wstydu, że im się nie podobało, a POWINNO, nacisnęła choć jedną gwiazdkę więcej. Ta książka z jakiegoś powodu tak działa, bo czuje się, że wypada ją lubić, bo jest ważna, bo mądra, bo każdy kocha, bo ludzie twierdzą, że wejdzie do klasyki. Cóż, może jestem głupia, ale dla mnie ta książka to była tortura.
Styl jest koszmarny, bo - choć zdania są zgrabne i ładne same w sobie - to Lunde potrafi napisać najbardziej trywialną rzecz w sposób, który brzmi niezręcznie. Miłość rodzica do dziecka? Dziwne, trącące chorą fascynacją, wielostronnicowe opisy wąchania tych dzieci, nawet dorosłych, pisania co zdanie, jakie są piękne, jak pięknie oddychają - takie opisy, które widuje się w kiepskich romansidłach, a w relacji rodzic-dziecko wybrzmiewają jakoś strasznie. Nawet głupi opis jedzenia śliwki był dziwaczny. Bohaterowie są nieznośni, i jak na początku nienawidziłam tylko Tao, bo jej cel był zwyczajnie paskudny i nielogiczny, tak potem cała trójka była dla mnie na równi. Oprócz tego - ta książka nie ma treści. Faktycznie, wszystko się na koniec zazębia, ale nie na tyle, żeby wywołać jakiekolwiek wrażenia, no 'Atlas chmur' to to nie jest, a cała treść to golenie się, jedzenie, budowanie ula, robienie szkicu, seks z żoną, kłótnia z żoną, kłótnia z synem, kłótnia z drugim synem, rozmowa z córką, pójście do sklepu, zejście po schodach, pojechanie pociągiem itd. 520 stron czegoś takiego. Nic opakowane w papierek ważnego tematu.


1. Czy to, co się stało z dzieckiem Tao naprawdę było dla kogoś zaskoczeniem? Czytałam to jako buddy reading z siostrą i obie się domyśliłyśmy bardzo szybko, bo to jedyna logiczna i łącząca to wszystko w kupę rzecz, jaka mogła się wydarzyć.
2. Obrzydliwe sceny mordowania pszczół - zdecydowanie nie dla wrażliwych, powinien być trigger warning. Jakby Lunde zrozumiała, że nie zrobiła w tej książce nic, więc rzuciła torturami niewinnych zwierzątek, bo to wywoła emocje.
Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books289 followers
August 12, 2017
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

A slow-burner, but loving the exploration into the vital importance of bees.

Bees are absolutely my favourite insect, so a book with bees in the title was never going to be overlooked by me. As ever, I wasn't sure what to expect - and was mostly engaged, with just a few occasions where I was left scratching my head.

The story follows three narratives - William, a bee-hive designer /obsessive from the Victorian era, George, a grumpy old bee farmer in what felt like modern times, and Tao, a low-level pollinator in the future.

Their stories, though very different, had fascinating similarities. All were in some way searching for 'lost' sons. All of their lives were in some way dependent on bees, and all were directly / indirectly affected by the great bee collapse. I'm paraphrasing here, it was called something else in the book!

Tao was the most interesting, mainly because the author had very successfully created this dystopian future minus the bees, and it felt alarmingly possible. The tense relationship between George and his son was likewise fascinating, though there were times when the narrative about William felt a little stagnant.

One thing that worked fabulously was how the narratives were tied together at the end, though it's quite a big ask of the author to expect their readers to wait so long to get a hint of this clever ending. However, respect for doing it...it worked well.

Overall, an engaging, well plotted read.

Profile Image for Tonkica.
626 reviews117 followers
February 7, 2022

Ovo je priča s trima glavnim likovima i jednim pozadinskim, najbitnijm. William je biolog i trgovac sjemenjem i živi u Engleskoj sa svojom ženom i sedmero djece sredinom 19. stoljeća. Imamo i pčelara Georgea, koji živi u Americi sa suprugom sredinom 20. stoljeća i vodi bitku u uzgoju pčela, suočen s modernom agrikulturom. Treća je kineskinja Tao, koja živi u Kini sa suprugom i trogodišnjim sinom, krajem 21. stoljeća.

Svi oni iz svoje perspektive čovjeka u svom vremenu prikazuju koliko je bitna ispravna interakcija i s najmanjim bićima. Ujedno i najvećim likom ove knjige – PČELAMA. Ponašanje likova, ali i nas samih može presudno utjecati na to hoćemo li opstati kao ljudska vrsta ili nećemo.

Cijeli osvrt pronađite ovdje: https://knjige-u-svom-filmu.webador.c...
Profile Image for Ahmed.
911 reviews7,394 followers
November 20, 2019
حين اختفى النحل.....مايا لوندِه
ترجمة: علاء الدين أبو زينه

المميز اكتر في الأعمال العظيمة هو كسر غرور القاريء، انها بتقول له انه مهما بلغ من سعة اطلاع هيفضل الكتاب الجيد والرواية العظيمة قادران على مباغتته وتقتحم عقله وقلبه على حد السواء.
وهذه الرواية تنتمي بلا شك لفئة الروايات العظيمة، الروايات القادرة على الصمود وخلود الذكر إلى ان يرث الله الأرض ومن عليها.
رواية تدور في 3 ازمنة مختلفة متباعدة، ولكن الكاتبة قادرة على ان تمسك بخيوط الأزمنة الثلاث، وان تنقل القاريء بسلاسة بينهم، 3 أزمنة بشخصيات وأحداث وتفاصيل مختلفة ولكنهم معًا ينسجوا لوحة فنية ممتعة.
مناقشة الأمور البيئية دائما يبدو صعبًا منفرًا للقراءة، ولكن الكاتبة نجحت في تبسيط الأمور وتوصيلها القاريء بصورة غاية الجمال والمتعة، ومن حسن حظ القاريء العربي انها نُقلت بترجمة ممتازة جميلة.

رواية عظيمة.
Profile Image for Annina.
261 reviews72 followers
August 23, 2017
Ich konnte das Buch kaum weglegen. Bei allen drei Protagonisten (insbesondere bei Tao) konnte ich mitfühlen. Ich finde Maja Lunde hat den Grat zwischen Fakten und Fiktion sehr gut getroffen und in einem simplen Stil wiedergegeben. Empfehlenswert.
Profile Image for Nemo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
865 reviews396 followers
July 8, 2022
This is the worst kind of book.

I'd rather read a book that's unequivocally terrible than a book like The History of Bees, its sparse shining nuggets of gold drowning in a sea of dire drudgery.

There were some very good ideas here, but unfortunately - most of the book was just really fucking boring. Different POVs from completely different times and places, interconnected in a surprising way, is one of my favourite literary tropes - but it's also one of the most difficult to get right. Tao, living in a dystopic post-bee society, was the one character I cared about. Edward was a pathetic, terrible person who treated his family like shit and still acted like the victim, and I wouldn't be surprised if George wears a MAGA hat and harasses teenagers online by calling them snowflakes. (Maybe that's harsh, but that was his whole vibe, okay?)

Unsympathetic characters can work if they're also interesting. But they aren't.

An excellent idea ruined by lacklustre storytelling, mediocre writing, and very poor characterisation. I'm almost more depressed about that than I am about the bees dying.

Also, I bought a hardcover version because I was so convinced I was going to love it, and then I accidentally spilled Lucozade over it so I can't even resell it. Thanks Obama.
Profile Image for Rafal.
316 reviews18 followers
March 15, 2017
Świetne czytadło. Połknąłem ją w kilka dni. Czytałem z wypiekami. A kilka razy łza zakręciła mi się oku.
Ale mimo to mam do tej książki sporo zastrzeżeń.
Żeby jednak nie było, że jestem marudnym pierdzielem - zacznijmy od zalet.

Największą jest wspaniałe ekologiczne przesłanie. Po przeczytaniu tej książki człowiek aż chce zatroszczyć się o środowisko, zaczyna kochać pszczółki a zanim rozgniecie komara, zastanowi się dwa razy. Piszę to prawie bez ironii. Bo ja i bez tej książki mam takie podejście do życia, ale mam szczerą nadzieję, że parę osób, które naturą się nie przejmuje - po lekturze - zmieni zdanie. To przesłanie jest wg mnie lepsze niż na przykład w "Sekretnym życiu drzew", które jest raczej nudne.

Zaletą jest także język. Prosty, bez nadęcia nawet w szczególnie wzruszających czy ważnych momentach.

Zalet jest wiele innych, ale są pomniejsze więc przejdźmy to drobnych problemów.

Przeszkadzało mi to, że to tak naprawdę ckliwa historyjka. Bardzo przewidywalna w wielu aspektach. Powód choroby chłopca zgadłem od razu. Powiązania między bohaterami też prawie od razu były oczywiste, niespodzianką (ale nie zaskoczeniem) było tylko - jak konkretnie zostaną te powiązania przedstawione.

No i najważniejszy dla mnie zarzut - który stawia dla mnie pod znakiem zapytania literacką wartość tej książki. Forma. Krótkie rozdziały z imionami bohaterów jako tytuły i bardzo plastyczne opisywanie rzeczywistości. To podobne rozwiązanie do "Gry o tron". I tak jak w przypadku GoT tak i tu miałem wrażenie, że autorka pisała książkę, ale oczyma duszy wiedziała już scenariusz i film, jaki na podstawie tej książki powstanie. To ma na pewno wiele zalet. Krótkie, dynamiczne rozdziały powodują, że świetnie się czyta w autobusie. Ale niestety literatura na tym cierpi. W pewnym momencie ma się wrażenie, że to "Serial o pszczołach" a nie "Historia pszczół".

Ale poza tym na pewno warto to przeczytać i kocham pszczoły (oraz miodek)
Profile Image for Carlos.
589 reviews289 followers
January 29, 2018
3.5 stars for this book. It is a nice book that attempts to connect three timelines, one in the late 1800’s , the other in the early 2000 and the last one in the late 2000’s . The only thing linking them is the bees and how beekeeping has destroyed , supported and changed their life forever. It was a very interesting thing to try and keep up with all these timelines, at first it takes you some time to connect with all the different characters, so I would say it had a slow start. The book picks up in the middle , but the conclusion in all these timelines felt a little too dark for me . The beekeeping added a certain romantic aura to all the timelines and I appreciated that . Definitely very interesting debut by this author.
Profile Image for Marialyce .
1,984 reviews716 followers
July 31, 2017
Rating wise this book is a tough one for me to call. There were parts of it that were excellent while also having parts that seemed to drag a bit. However, the author, Maja Lunde, was able to weave a tale of three generations of bee keepers. Each one covered a time span. The past, was represented by William, a seed keeper who wants to build a perfect bee hive thus securing his fame and his family's future in the world he inhabits. In the present time, we meet George who battles the modern age in farming as he strives to bring his son into the world and the passion he holds for the bees. Finally, there is Tao presenting the future where bees are no longer living. She and her husband are employed in the process of painting pollen unto the fruit trees to ensure not only their survival but also that of the people who now exist in a world that no longer resembles what we have come to know. These three characters come together with their families to provide the reader with many glimpses into their family dynamics and the way of life each lead in the world that they inhabited.

For this reader Tao's story was the most interesting. Her son is taken ill on a day trip into the country and is whisked away mysteriously. She begins a search for him, leaving her husband behind and through her travels we see a world of the future that is none too bright and exceedingly sad.

I found this book to be very earthy, one that paints a strong picture of our reliance on these little creatures that bind together in their hive and work as a unit. They definitely have something to teach we humans about binding together to accomplish goals.

So now it comes to rating this novel. In my mind I feel that the subject matter rates a five. However, because the writing was at time wandering and somewhat disjointed, I will give it a four. I realize that this book was translated into English so some of this meandering might have been caused by that issue.

Thank you to NetGalley and Touchstone for providing me with an advanced copy for an unbiased review.

Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
981 reviews502 followers
September 26, 2020
Definitely between a 3.5/4 star read for me.

Here we meet William, George and Tao. Our past, present and future in regards to our history with bees.

Each character embodies a different personal, historical or familial crisis. In this book change is painful. Humanity is destroying itself trying to tame bees globally; and this relationship is also imprinted on our intimate relationships.

All characters have varying relationships with their sons - it is rather symbolic to tie alongside earth’s relationship with bees.

This book took me a little while to get into, but once Tao wrapped me around her finger I was completely sold with the story.

Overall it does ring true to our current relationship with bees and the environment, the present and future chapters demonstrated a fictional world that could easily transpire in our reality.
Profile Image for John McDermott.
373 reviews49 followers
January 12, 2022
An engaging debut novel about a serious subject ,namely the exploitation of 🐝 bees and the subsequent collapse of the population and what our future may look like without them. Needless to say ,it's not good.

Told through the eyes of three characters from the past ,present and future, The History of Bees also explores the relationship between parents and children.

I liked how the characters weren't always sympathetic and how the author allowed them to make mistakes and get things wrong, just like the rest of us. William ,in particular, really got on my nerves at times. This made them authentic and real.

Well written and thought provoking, this book highlights a serious issue and one we all need to wake up to .

3.75 🌟
Profile Image for lise.charmel.
370 reviews157 followers
February 15, 2021
Tematica e struttura interessanti, svolgimento ni.
Personaggi ottusi al limite dell'inverosimile e altri che evolvono nel giro di una pagina senza una comprensibile motivazione.
Scrittura piatta, ripetitiva, "spiegona".
Peccato, perché il nostro mondo ha bisogno di libri su questi temi, però scritti un po' meglio.
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