Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Murmur of Bees” as Want to Read:
The Murmur of Bees
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Murmur of Bees

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  51,555 ratings  ·  7,144 reviews
From a beguiling voice in Mexican fiction comes an astonishing novel—her first to be translated into English—about a mysterious child with the power to change a family’s history in a country on the verge of revolution.

From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket
Paperback, 476 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Amazon Crossing (first published March 1st 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Murmur of Bees, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Richard Torres I think some of the most moving prose is in the later half of the book, so I would encourage you to continue. I found the ending to be particularly em…moreI think some of the most moving prose is in the later half of the book, so I would encourage you to continue. I found the ending to be particularly emotionally stirring. (less)
Linda Robertson I am absolutely LOVING the Audible version! The narrators' voices add so much to the gorgeous writing...…moreI am absolutely LOVING the Audible version! The narrators' voices add so much to the gorgeous writing...(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  51,555 ratings  ·  7,144 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Murmur of Bees
MissBecka Gee
"We would go to remember just the good things. And in our ignorance, we would heal."

A heartfelt historical fiction with a touch of magic.
This author blew me away! The writing is beyond amazing!!!
I found myself setting it aside to try and make it last longer; while at the same time itching to read more.
I can't imagine it being more beautiful than it already was, but I do wish I were capable of reading it in Spanish since this was a translated version.
I hope more of her work gets tran
I am not even sure I can write anything coherent to describe the beauty and magic of this book.

Originally written in Spanish, the version I was reading is an English translation by Simon Bruni and if the translation was this beautiful, emotionally satisfying and evocative, I can only imagine the magic of the original.

Beautiful, mesmerising, magical. Simonopio and his bees are just the kind of guardian angels, protectors and friends people would love to have in their lives.

Thank you NetGalley, t
I'm not typically a fan of magic realism, but this book stole my heart! Taking place in Mexico during the early 1900's, this story is about a special boy, named Simonopio, who possesses extraordinary sensory gifts. As a baby, he was found abandoned and disfigured, covered in a swarm of bees. It tells of his relationships with various people, especially with one particular family, and more specifically, their young son, Francisco. The author uses powerful figures of speech - I loved the metaphor ...more
Sep 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stories lately have been buzzing with 🐝 bees. A child is found in Mexico cocooned in them, Protecting him from the elements and predators. This child, Simonopio, is adopted by the family who found him. Although he has facial disfigurement which prevents him from speaking, he is a lucky charm to the family protecting them with visions he has.
The story is set during the raging influenza and the Mexican revolution in 1918. Then the Agrarian reform.
There is devastation, grief and love of family and
**** This review contains many spoilers****

WOW.... fuck... this... book. I gave it a chance, which I shouldn't have -- read about half of it, then you can bet your butt I skimmed the rest (and "skimmed" is putting it generously).

I literally only read this because it was the September pick for my Spanish book club -- which I would have skipped, but I've missed the last two, so I basically *have* to go to this one (it's a long story). After this fucking disaster, I don't think I will be going back
The Murmur of Bees is a historical fiction novel by Mexican author Sofia Segovia, her first to be translated into English. The novel is set in Northern Mexico in the early 20th century amidst the Mexican Revolution and the deadly Spanish flu pandemic. The story follows the lifetime of the Morales family of landowners. When an abandoned baby with a hive of bees next to him is found on the Morales land, Francisco and Beatriz Morales adopt the baby and treat him as their own, despite his facial def ...more
This extraordinary tale of a boy found under a bridge covered by a blanket of bees begins in October 1910. Nana Reja who always sits in her rocking chair every day, immobile but for the rocking, eyes closed, more wooden than human in her old age, hears the baby crying. But how could she hear over that great of a distance? Just one of the many questions that would follow Simonopio, the ‘bee charmer’ all of his life. When Franciso Morales, owner of the hacienda, pulls back the blanket in Nana Reja ...more
***I re-wrote my review for this because my first review just didn’t do it justice. I’m not sure this one will either, but this story by Sofia Segovia, and translated by Simon Bruni, is wonderful and deserves some extra love.***

One morning an elderly, mute woman named Nana Reja hears cries that no one else can hear and discovers a baby with a cleft palate abandoned under a bridge protectively covered from head to toe in bees. Having lost her own baby boy long ago, she takes this unusual child to
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really need to read more translated books! As long as they're available in audio English format, I'd love to discover new cultures. and this book was really magical. The story was captivating and just so nice! I enjoyed listening to the audio and the characters were interesting and well developed. It's my first time listening to a translated audiobook and I can say, I was worried over nothing. The quality is good and we had multiple narrators. This is the kind of book I definitely would've enj ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweet, sad story of two unrelated boys who are brothers in spirit

This is a tender and loving description of the warmth that a family extends to an orphan and how he repays their unconditional love with loyalty and courage.Tears are coming to my eyes now as I write this. It is seldom that the love of a family towards each other and others is written about in fiction. Sofia Segovia does a masterful job of this in her lovely novel. The character of the orphan, Simonopio, is beyond compare. I fell i
“The Murmur of Bees” is the second audio novel I’ve listened to while working ardently to move my household. I was attracted to the novel because it’s the first novel by Mexican author Sofia Segovia that has been translated into English. Plus, it involves the Mexican mysticism that the country favors.

The story begins when a baby is found under a bridge covered in bees. To compound his oddness, he has a cleft palate that was thought to be the mark of the devil at that time. A loving family takes
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mexico
Sofia Segovia pens a story with much artistic license inspired from events that occurred in northern Mexico starting in 1910. An abandoned baby is discovered disfigured and covered with bees. Simonopio is welcomed and adopted by the local landowners, Francisco and Beatriz Morales. The bees warmed, warned, fed, comforted, protected, and communicated with Simonopio showing him the paths and the world surrounding him. He listens to the oral tales and comes to know the chapters or entire stories of ...more
May 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A baby boy is found under a bridge in Linares, Mexico. He is blanked with a swarm of bees. He has a disfigurement, but Nana Rena takes him home.
He is adopted by the Morales family. Who love him with all their heart. They call him Simonopio.

This is the family saga of the Morales family through turbulent times in Mexico, from the Mexican Revolution, agrarian reform and the Spanish flu.
There are many similarities to the current COVID 19 pandemic. A touching scene in the book is when dying people ar
Tara Rock
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BEES - that is what attracted me to this "novel" novel. A entrancing story involving a small Mexican village and the aristocratic Morales family circa 1918. Land translated to wealth, yet the government often confiscated the land; soldiers of the ongoing Revolution took what they needed; the Spanish Flu took lives, and their religion was in danger as their Priests were in hiding. Yet, the loyalty, empathy and love among these people flourished. Excellent. I won't go into the bees or the "coyote" ...more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A creative and beautifully written story of a disfigured boy with a language all his own.

The ancient Nana Reja finds a newborn baby boy abandoned under a bridge, and the lives of a family ina small village are changed forever. The baby was disfigured and covered in a living blanket of bees. Little Simonopio was thought by some to be kissed by the devil. But as he grows the Morales family who raises him, finds him to be incredible gifted. When he closes his eyes Simonopio can see visions
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book about the life of a disfigured, abandoned child who grows up in northern Mexico during the early 20th century. I was so mesmerized reading this book it’s the first time I ever read while brushing my teeth! The story telling truly enables you to feel you are a part of the scenery while challenging your mind with clever foreshadowing. I highly recommend this book and wouldn’t be surprised if it wins awards.
This is rhe story of the Morales family in Linares, Mexico, near Monterrey. It is a time of turmoil to come with the Mexican Revolution and the Flu Pandemic of 1918 which leaves the town desolated and destroyed. Magical realism infuses the story with the presence of Nana Reja, who serves the Morales family as a wet nurse for decades (that is the magical part), and the abandoned child Simonopio, adopted by the Morales. Simonopio spends his life covered by bees, and rejected by society for his fac ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the last 159 pages but it’s a long way to get there. More thoughts soon.
Montzalee Wittmann
The Murmur of Bees
By: Sofia Segovia, Simon Bruni - translation
Narrated by: Xe Sands, Angelo Di Loreto
This is a story that is rich in history, society's best and worst reactions to extreme situations, family ties, and reactions to the unusual. A baby is born with "a devil's kiss", which sounds like possibly a cleft palate. He was left for the elements and the bees surround him but did him no harm. The period is 1918-1919 or so and the Spanish flu is killing off people. The description and writing
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audible. What a wonderful listening experience! The dual narration took the experience to another level, both narrators doing an amazing job, but the man's voice was so memorable (as is James Earl Jones's voice). It is a powerful tale set in Mexico. It is a story of family, of adaptability, and the quest to acquire or save your land. The farming aspect of the story made me feel very connected to my grandfather.

There are so many aspects of the stories within the main story arc I loved-the nonas,

Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In April 2019 Amazon Crossing gave free copies of this book and eight others in celebration of World Book day.

I found the story to be folksy and charming. It is narrated by Francisco Morales, Jr. who tells of being the youngest child of Beatriz and Francisco Morales, Sr., who were already grandparents when he was born. Prior to his birth, his parents had taken in a newborn infant, Simonopio, who was found under a bridge surrounded by a swarm of bees. Simonopio, who had a cleft palate or some de
Kylie H
What a wonderful and surprising book this turned out to be. I have had it for so long, and finally I read it!
The book is set in rural Mexico in the early 1900's. The first few chapters had me quite confused and I almost stopped reading, but thankfully persisted. The characters and timelines started to fall into place and I really enjoyed the story from there. A baby is found by a retired wet nurse, nana Reja, on a farm. The baby is covered in bee's and is revealed to have a facial deformity. Wor
Melissa Crytzer Fry
**3.5 rounded up**

This novel was among a handful offered as a free e-book by Amazon Crossing, as part of World Book Day in March. Otherwise, it likely would not have been on my radar.

Translated from Spanish, The Murmur of Bees was a fun read for me because of my fascination with those honey-makers (and my horror at seeing our desert – FILLED with blooms from a wet spring – nearly absent of bees!). The setting also interested me, given my physical proximity to the Mexico border.

I fell in love wi
Fantastic characters. Beautiful, beautiful writing. So evocative... I wish I could have read it in Spanish, but I happened to get a copy in English first. That said, Simon Bruni's translation is amazing.

5 stars.
Carmel Hanes
Oct 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've not read a lot of translated fiction so I don't know how this compares to the norm. I also don't read a lot of "magical realism", so again, can't speak to what's typical of that genre. That said, I enjoyed this book...a lot...despite its odd premise and fantasy-like qualities mixed with historical truths.

A young boy with a facial deformity as bee whisperer? Bees that communicate with a human? It does require stepping into 'Lord-of-the-Rings-land' with an open mind; a task that did not chall
Rachel Simone
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I spent the last 30 pages of this book hysterically crying. I was so moved by the ending. It is a slow burn and very character driven.

The style kind of reminded me of John Steinbeck.
5 Stars

*A gorgeous, evocative, and timely novel that far exceeded my expectations*

The Murmur of Bees first came out in 2015, but it just got translated to English in 2019. I added it to my TBR as soon as I saw it, but it was several months before I got around to reading it. I'll admit that although I was interested in the synopsis, I didn’t feel any rush to read it. Perhaps that ended up being a good thing, because I read it at the right time and went into it with almost no expectations. So I wa
3 stars - It was good.

Life waits for no one, and death takes us all.

The plot is fairly predictable and things take a long time to progress. Still held my interest until the end and along the way I learned historical things about Mexico from the early 1900’s (Spanish influenza pandemic, Constitutional law on idle land).
Favorite Quote: It doesn’t matter whether time passes slowly or quickly. What you can be sure of is that, in the end, all you want is to
sharon mason
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pay attention, Listen carefully.

That is the sum up in this book. To pay attention to all that's around you and to listen carefully for more than your ears can hear. It is a magical book, full of enduring, patience and love. The hero is unique, disfigured but a companion with bees. His journey affects all others in his world, not only his adopted family but also the natural environment surrounding them. Read with an open mind and you will find love.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • West with Giraffes
  • Salvar el fuego
  • The Last Rose of Shanghai
  • The Last Green Valley
  • Morir de pie
  • The Singing Trees
  • Violeta
  • Die Roseninsel
  • The Lincoln Highway
  • The Storyteller of Casablanca
  • Forgotten Bones (Dead Remaining, #1)
  • The Girl Puzzle: A Story of Nellie Bly
  • Into the Hourglass (The Evermore Chronicles, #2)
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo
  • Inheriting Edith
See similar books…
See top shelves…
SOFÍA SEGOVIA SOFÍA SEGOVIA, es una autora mexicana y bestseller internacional conocida por su narrativa imaginativa y sensorial, pero con una conexión innegable a la realidad. En su obra explora y muestra piezas perdidas del rompecabezas de la historia y de la identidad mexicana. Huracán es su primera novela. El murmullo de las abejas (2015), su novela bestseller fue nombrada Descubrimiento Liter ...more

Articles featuring this book

Looking to read about the Roaring Twenties, the Spanish flu pandemic, World War II, or the grunge era? These new historical fiction books will...
144 likes · 26 comments
“Tell them to walk in the shade. To listen with their eyes, to see with their skin, and to feel with their ears, because life speaks to us all and we just need to know and wait to listen to it, see it, feel it.” 22 likes
“Diles que caminen por la sombra. Que escuchen con los ojos, que vean con la piel y que sientan con los oídos, porque la vida nos habla a todos y sólo debemos saber y querer escucharla, verla, sentirla.” 20 likes
More quotes…