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The History of Bees

(Klimakvartetten #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  11,953 ratings  ·  1,422 reviews
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 merch
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Touchstone (first published August 2015)
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Lisa H Did you read it until the end? I think it didn’t really get better. Maybe the last 30 pages. But it is definitely too slow, everything is over…moreDid you read it until the end? I think it didn’t really get better. Maybe the last 30 pages. But it is definitely too slow, everything is over explained. She couldn’t get precise without getting excessive. I’m a bit disappointed (less)
librarianka Ciekawe, ze ja odnioslam takie samo wrazenie po przeczytaniu tej ksiazki w jezyku angielskim. Wiec moze to nie tlumaczenie tylko tak wlasnie, troche…moreCiekawe, ze ja odnioslam takie samo wrazenie po przeczytaniu tej ksiazki w jezyku angielskim. Wiec moze to nie tlumaczenie tylko tak wlasnie, troche niezgrabnie jest napisana? Mimo wszystko cos w niej jest co zostaje w nas po przeczytaniu mimo kiepskiej prozy.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,953 ratings  ·  1,422 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, espe
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-german
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 d
بثينة العيسى
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.
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 beg
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 be
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mohamed Al
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 طفولت
Tanja Berg
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 timel
Jderu Marius
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pet
Mel (Epic Reading)
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 c
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Konsequenze
Lucy Banks
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, Geo
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 u ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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 relatio
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maja-lunde
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
Lost In My Books
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ulubione
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 t
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, first-read-book
Ateidami į pasaulį su savimi ir misiją atsinešame. Misija - kurti, naikinti, susinaikinti. Knygoje supintos trys istorijos apie vidines katastrofas, ištekančias toli už vidinių indų ir keičiančias pasaulį (priežastis ir pasekmė kaip varomoji knygos jėga). Visos jos susijusios su bitėmis ir bičių, kaip tobulų organizmų, elgsenos ypatumais. Istorija įtikinama ir verčianti apmąstyti savo šiandienos veiksmus, skatinanti žvelgti plačiau ir pasidaryti atitinkamas išvadas. Trijų pagrindinių veikėjų pav ...more
Alice Lippart
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
A slow, but interesting and enjoyable read.
Touchstone Books
For starters, our art team did an incredible job with the U.S. cover. Absolutely incredible. And when you see it in person, it's even more beautiful—tons of gold, special effects, I can't get over it. But that's what we had to do to live up to the gorgeous story inside. Would a world without bees be a world without us? You'll have to read it to find out.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of three connected stories which their connection is not clear until almost the end of the book. When the connection is revealed the three stories become one and it’s actually story of us, humans.

1851/ England: William, an academic which tries to design a new bee hive in order to observe their lives. He’s obsessed with first his research then his son Edmund who seems ignores him all the time.

2007/USA. George. He’s from a generation of bee keepers/ Organic bee keeprs. He takes
☙ percy ❧
Aug 09, 2017 marked it as tbr-shortlist  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-standalone
this sounds kinda like cloud atlas except with extra bees, which essentially sounds like... MY PERFECT BOOK!!!!!!
1852: Der Biologe und Samenhändler William lebt zusammen mit seiner Frau, seinem einzigen Sohn und seinen sieben Töchtern in England. Er forscht über Bienen und möchte seinem Sohn Edward und seinem Mentor Rahm imponieren und verschreibt sich ganz der Bienen und ihrer Lebensweise. Er verfällt nach mehreren Rückschlägen immer wieder in schwere Depressionen und kann sein Bett nicht mehr verlassen und ist somit seiner großen Familie keine große Hilfe Gelingt es ihm dennoch Erfolge durch seine Forsch ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
There are three stories in this wonderful novel about the history and destiny of bees and their ties to humanity. The stories take place in 1851, 2007 and 2098. 1851 tells the story of British shopkeeper William Savage, whose dream is to build a better bee hive to ensure his children a better future. 2007 centers on George and his son, Tom. George is a beekeeper who longs to build up his business together with Tom, but Tom’s longings lie elsewhere. In 2098, Tao has the horrendous job of hand pai ...more
Blending historical, contemporary and future story lines, this inventive novel, originally published in Norway in 2015, is a hymn to the dying art of beekeeping and a wake-up call about the environmental disaster the disappearance of bees signals. The plot strands share the strong themes of troubled parenthood and the drive to fulfill one’s purpose. Like David Mitchell or Louisa Hall, Lunde juggles extremely different time periods and voices admirably. The only sections of the book that dragged ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a beautifully written story with an incredibly terrifying message. If the bees die, so do we. Simple as that. The three interconnected timelines focus on bees in the past, present and future. The past timeline deals with the invention of better beehives to aid in the study of bees. It doesn't sound super exciting but this family has a lot going on and they are quite interesting. I especially loved Charlotte, the budding feminist who doesn't let her gender hold her back from reading and, ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, neu-2017
Schon länger hatte ich dieses Buch auf dem Schirm, jetzt habe ich es im Rahmen ekner Leserunde auch endlich verschlungen.

Verschlungen trifft es auch gut, denn es hat einen recht klaren Erzählstil, der immer eine unbestimmte Melancholie durchscheinen lässt. So etwas liebe ich und auch diesmal konnte es mich überzeugen.

Wir verfolgen die Geschichten dreier Familien, Jahrhunderte getrennt und doch irgendwie verbunden. Jeder der Protagonisten hat mir seinen eigenen Problemen zu kämpfen, die sehr sta
Karen Kay
I received this ARC from in exchange for a review.

This story is told from three exceedingly different views. William lives in England 1852, George in the U.S. 2007 and Tao in China 2098. Each character shows us how important bees are to our society.

As with many translated books, I feel things are lost in the translation. Just like watching a bee buzzing around languidly from flower to flower, the story wandered from here to there to here to there to here ....

RoseMary Achey
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While there are many dual time novels The History of Bees uses three time periods; a historical, contemporary and futuristic to provide a brief history of bees. A historical fiction contemporary dystopian novel-is there such a category? Even if you are not the least interested in honey bees this is such an interesting novel and yes all three stories are related.
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Nature Literature: The History of Bees discussion 1 15 Sep 17, 2018 06:25PM  
Play Book Tag: The History of Bees by Maja Lunde - 5 stars 4 20 Sep 08, 2018 04:31PM  
Završetak 'Povijest pčela' 2 7 Jul 02, 2018 02:24PM  
Der "Erwachsenen-...: Buddy-Read zu "Die Geschichte der Bienen" von Maja Lunde 27 30 Jul 22, 2017 07:09AM  
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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 h ...more

Other books in the series

Klimakvartetten (2 books)
  • Blå (Klimakvartetten, #2)
“I needed seven hours of sleep. At least. I've always envied those who don't need much sleep. Those who wake up after five hours and are ready to preform at their best. They're the ones who really go far in life, I've heard.” 4 likes
“We are nothing without passion.” 3 likes
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