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The Murmur of Bees

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  28,974 ratings  ·  4,300 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
Kindle Edition, 471 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Amazon Crossing (first published March 1st 2015)
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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)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  28,974 ratings  ·  4,300 reviews

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MissBecka Gee
After chatting with Sofía Segovia at our book club, I am even more obsessed with her work and cannot wait for her next book to be translated!!!
P.S. She said Peregrinos will be the next one translated!

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,
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
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
Karen KK
Jan 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
I received this from in exchange for a review.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.

Well, I tried to like this book and I feel that I gave it a fair chance by reading about 50%. But I just couldn't force myself to go any further. There was nothing in the story to grab on to, t
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
**** 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
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
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
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
**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
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.
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.
Montzalee Wittmann
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Kerrin Parris
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to AmazonCrossing and Netgalley for the Advance Review Copy. 

Wow. What an absolute gem of a novel. The cover and synopsis grabbed my attention immediately and I knew once I had finished the first few chapters that I was reading something truly special. 

The novel follows the saga of the Morales family in Northern Mexico and those linked to their story. The book starts with a mystery, an abandoned baby boy with some unusual friends. It follows his relationship with the Morales family and ot
Rachel Simone
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
sharon mason
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I am going to put this one aside. I say sadly because I waited with great anticipation for it's release. I love historical fiction and I particularly love Latin American fiction. I gave the book 240 pages to win me over and it didn't. It had possibilities, but it moved very slowly. The characters were not compelling and as I reached the half way mark the plot was still unclear. Because there were so many good reviews in Spanish I wonder if the problem was translation. I hope to see more w ...more
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
***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
In one word: BEAUTIFUL!

The writing is insanely beautiful. I could basically quote the whole book here as an example. And credits for this not only to the author, but to the translator as well. The story itself is beautiful. It's wonderful and sad. It made me smile but also brought me to the brink of tears. I loved the touch of magical realism to it. The characters are amazing.

My dream is to one day understand Spanish well enough to read a book like this in its original language. Until then, I'm
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: April 7th 2019

"Simonopio was for the outdoors, for the wild. He was for reading life, not books."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and AmazonCrossing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Stephanie Jane
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I do love reading Latin American magical realism novels! I know the genre isn't to everyone's taste, but if it's to yours then I would highly recommend grabbing yourself a copy of The Murmur Of Bees to read this summer. I can't comment on the original Spanish, but Simon Bruni's English language translation kept me glued to every page of this historical epic. Segovia weaves the story of a cleft-lipped boy, Simonopio, who has a strange affinity
An abandoned baby boy is found. He is covered with a swarm of bees. The bees are his friends and would never harm him; in fact, it is their job to protect him.

"And they all wondered how old Nana Reja had found him, covered in a living blanket of bees."

"...a newborn baby with a disfigured face, wrapped in the nana’s shawl and a living blanket of bees."

They name him Simonopio. Although he is feared by some because of his disfigurement, he is loved by his godparents, Francisco and Beatriz Morales.
Seema Rao
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magical ~ Beautiful ~ Engrossing

tl; dr: Foundling transforms a family

Segovia's book, and probably thanks in part to the strengths of the translator, is a lovely story of a group of people living at the time of the Mexican revolution. A young boy is found and cared for by a group of strong, but quirky women. Segovia is a masterful writer. Readers who love language will luxuriate in her descriptions. This book would make a great book club selection: plenty of nuances to discuss, complex women, and
RoseMary Achey
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved everything about this title. Both the setting-Mexico and the time period-1918 are more unique among historical fiction. . Magical realism at play here. Reminded me a bit of Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield.

A child found under a bridge and taken in by a wealthy land owner. This child is special and as he grows he is able to close his eyes and see the future.

The narrative is beautiful-this is storytelling at its finest truest form.
Simonopio reminds me of Owen Meany. The big hearted boy who sacrifices all for those he loves.
The character who is deemed fragile or mute. Who suffers from some physical disability. Yet is stronger than his enemies, possessing some supernatural strength.

The connection between Simonopio and Francisco Jr. is what kept me turning the pages even when I got bored.

The Murmur of Bees is written in two voices: one omniscient and the other an older Francisco Jr. as he rehashes his life with a taxi driv
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SOFÍA SEGOVIA vive en Monterrey, México y es es autora de Noche de huracán (2010) y del remake Huracán (2016). El murmullo de las abejas (2015), su novela bestseller publicada en todo el mundo hispano, fue nombrada Descubrimiento Literario del Año por Penguin Random House GE y Novela del Año por iTunes. Su nueva novela, Peregrinos, salió al público hispano en 2018. Fue nombrada entre las mejores n ...more

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