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Of Bees and Mist

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  7,133 ratings  ·  1,143 reviews
Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.

Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally esca
hardcover, 404 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,133 ratings  ·  1,143 reviews

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Sep 17, 2009 rated it liked it
i wish i liked this more, i truly do. it's in the running for best cover of the year, which is of course why i bought it (in hardcover, before reading any reviews of it, and barely reading the flap-copy) but it seemed like my brand of tea - crumbling houses, family secrets, a touch of magic realism. only it was more than a touch. this is basically a fairy tale. which hit me unexpectedly as i was reading. but it's fine, i acclimate to the tone and continue reading... it's just that it's not very ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, recommended
Almost exactly two hours ago, I finished reading OF BEES AND MIST, and I’m still in its spell. Normally I am opposed to writing reviews right after I read a book, because often my opinion of a book needs time to sort of marinate. I tend to get fonder of a book the longer I’ve had to think, but I have to say, my fondness for this book is pretty darn inconsequential. What matters is that this curious novel has dug its way under my skin in a way I can tell will last for quite awhile. Saying that OF ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
loved this book, this book was a National Blue Ribbon Award winner by BOMC several years ago... I have read many books on that list and have loved them all!
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* by: Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
Because Jess says:

PS: If you don't love this book then....

Just please love this book! :)

Never fear my relationship with my #humanbestie remains intact… for the time being anyways. *side-eyes The Stranger*

5 words CAN break your heart Stars

I fell in love with Of Bees and Mist so slowly and entirely that it was not until I had put it down that I realized how completely it had consumed my thoughts. How deeply Setiawan’s words and characters had wound themselves around my bitter, black heart. But
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
In light of my human bestie just having read this and loved it, and also in celebration of this same human bestie's forthcoming trip to ME (8 days!), I am bumping this review because I loved this book so hard and am feeling the need to 're-read it soon.

This is a very hard book to review, since I don't think I've ever read anything else like it, and I'm not likely to in my lifetime. I don't really know how to describe this book. Others have called it magical realism, a fairy-tale, a fable
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It started out as something I thought I would enjoy: a fairy tale for adults. As the story progressed, I started to like it less and less. I don't know if it was partly due to the Dutch translation, but it all felt like the use of language was very cliché and something I could've written myself.
Somewhere halfway through the book, all (to me) irritating things were starting to add up and I was very close to giving up on it entirely. What irritating things you wonder?

1. How many times do you have
May 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I really kind of hated this book, but at least it wasn't boring.
I can't imagine why you would dedicate a book to your mother, and then have the whole thing be about two of the worst mothers that have ever existed.
I know I'm always going on about the roles of women in fiction, but seriously, this guy apparently considers women to be barely sentient.
I mean, most of us really have better things to do than try to destroy the lives of everyone around us.
Yolanda Sfetsos
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is Erick Setiawan's first novel. I was so impressed that I can't wait to see what else he's got to offer in the future.

At the core of the story is the life of Meridia and the people who come in and out of her life as she grows from an insecure child, into a very clever and strong woman. It all starts with her very strange parents and the cold house with ghosts in the mirrors and shadows on the walls. Then follows her life with the family she becomes a part of after she marries the love of h
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is quite possibly my favorite book ever.

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

The whole book is permeated by the melancholy of lost love. The agai
Page 84 is about as far as I got, although I did flip through looking for something to keep me going. That something, at least for me, wasn't there. Or it was there, but it was hidden in the brambly writing that wanted so badly to be artful and ghostly and embed shards of spooky magic into my heart but heart, my heart, you are so calloused. Book, what is it you really wanted to be? Did I miss it so completely or did you want to be all things and ended up nothing?

This may be my fault. I'm not a
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bipoc-author
Oh my heart!

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

And that’s pretty cool in itself, because if you read his (very funny) bio, he’s not a native English speaker and has harbored doubts about his writing ability, going so far as to get an advanced de
Jul 23, 2019 added it
DNF at 25%
I wanted to love the story as much as the cover....
I don't think it is going to be easy to review this without giving too much away, because most of what I didn't like about it is to do with the direction of the plot in the second half. I was really enjoying the whimsical nature and magical realism of the first half, but in the second it turns into this petty, repetitive family drama, pretty much all "he said, she said". I couldn't stand the negativity of all the characters, even those we're clearly meant to be rooting for. I'm quite honestly ba ...more
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jaffareadstoo by: newbooksmagazine
Set against a backdrop of a fantasy world we are introduced to two warring families who live their lives amidst magic and chicanery. Loaded with superstition and alive with intrigue, this is a stunning debut novel. In many ways this magical fantasy has several parallels with our modern world, yet we are never informed of time or place. It could be happening in the past or way ahead into our future. It is quite simply a novel of good versus evil, with the depth of characterisation lending an adde ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Wow, what a magical fable!

I was worried this book would focus too much on fantasy rather than feeling, and prove to be a bit shallow. What I didn't realise, was that I was going to get dragged into a both wonderful and harrowing world where feelings were expressed through that magic and fantasy.

It's as if all the feelings I experienced while reading this book came to life, be it in the form of mist, scents, ailments, the buzzing of bees, or the twinkle of fireflies.

I have honestly never read
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Powell
Jan 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
So this is what I've learned about women in reading this book: they're spiteful, abusive, cold and with-holding from their husbands, are the cause of adultery, must be ice queens, servants, or whores, can't have a baby ever...seriously, every birth scene in this book resulted in death, blood, or curses, and every woman was an extreme; absolutely rage-filled or flat and meek and submissive.
Women, in this book, are worried about by others if, after their baby dies, they are no longer interested i
Bookish Ally
I can tell from the overall review scoring on this book (as if I wouldn’t know from the book itself) that this will be a book most will be divided into two categories- loved it and found it to be drivel. Put me firmly into the loved it category, please.

This book is hard to categorize - one part magical realism, one part fable, one part legend. It’s hard to tell the time or place that it takes place but if you are someone who loved the book you can describe the town, its streets, it’s familiar p
Kim Kaso
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ladies-lit-group
This book is a solid 4+, but not a 5. I liked many aspects of it, but Eva was too much for me. Perhaps if there was some mitigating reason for her behavior, but as it was she tried to destroy the lives of everyone around her, stinging them with her vitriol, and that took a lot of enjoyment away for me. She seemed to embody every negative behavior, but did not feel like like an authentic character when put along side the others who were fully human & were mixes of good and bad. Magical realism fo ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
What a surprise I received when I started reading this book. I actually was prepared to dislike it because I had read elsewhere that it is a fantasy, and I don't do well with that type of narrative.

BUT - as I continued to read on, the magical became real and accepted not only by the people in the story, but the reader as well. I was not bothered by the mist or the bees, or the fireflies or the "ghosts". Instead I saw them as allegorical for desire/emptiness, hatred, and personal reflections. The
Oct 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is a great novel to study if you need an example of a painfully plodding storyline which conveys not one iota of emotion to the reader. Really. This is everything NOT to do as a writer. It is one of those novels that you want to give up on after page 5, saying--ugh, how did this thing get published?--but which you finish because you have promised your teenaged daughter (who read it) that you would. There are so few things you share with your teenaged daughter these days, and so you read ALL ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap this book sucked. Read this only if you like listening to people endlessly abusing one another. Keep reading if you like overuse of pointless images. I like magical realism, but I kept waiting for there to be some sort of larger theme or something to tie everything together, and instead, the book just reaches the last page. It doesn't end, it doesn't stop, there's just a last page. Totally, totally lame. I wish I'd stopped listening at the beginning when I'd considered it. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
With its magical elements, non-specific time frame and archetypical characters, this had the feel of a modern fairytale. Like most traditional fairytales, this story told of negative relationships overcome and the victim triumphing. I do not favor this genre of storytelling. It deliberately avoids much of the complexity, subtlety of literary elements and smart dialogue I enjoy. But, I suspect that those who do like this type of book will have a positive reaction to this novel.
Lyn Battersby
I read a lot of Speculative Fiction, so felt a desperate need to dip into something a bit different. The label in the library classified Of Bees and Mist as a family saga, which sounded like the perfect palate cleanser.

To my surprise, Of Bees and Mist turned out not to just be a family saga, but also a fantasy saga. I found myself thoroughly engrossed within a few paragraphs and despite the arrival of a new grandchild in the household, managed to finish it within three days (a record in my house
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I think my favorite part of this book is the cover, so lovely. Lots of little images hidden in the vines. The story is full of magical realism which is a style I adore. i think it was at its strongest when describing the talents of the people at the market. I really wanted to love the book, but I felt it got weaker as it went on. The dialogue was particularly unconvincing. And while I was excited by the number of female characters in the novel, I was dismayed that the so infrequently felt real. ...more
Darth J
Jun 11, 2013 marked it as could-not-finish
I had heard some really enthusiastic things about this book which made me want to read it, but I couldn't get past the first 50 pages. The parts I read were drowning in purple prose and there was a huge lack of a plot. Nothing was happening and it was just really boring.

The cover is nice and it made me want to buy it (along with all the positive comments I had heard), but the book went nowhere fast and it felt like reading high school poetry in parts. I could feel that the author was setting up
Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl
"There's truth even in the strangest story."

Strangely Mystical & Magical. A cautionary tale of family relationships. These characters are mean! Of Bees and Mist is an unusual novel and takes most readers a bit of adjusting to the fairytale tone of the story. The descriptions, dialogue and situations are outlandishly laughable. Drenched in drama and deception, there is plenty here to satisfy those with a taste of the twisted.

Of Bees and Mist is another book I've owned for over a decade and finall
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I liked this book, but have to give it the the 3-star-treatment thanks to a feeling of ambiguity and loose ends I got from it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed certain ambiguous aspects of it, for example the way it was impossible to fix it in an analogous period in history. What I didn't like was the feeling that the characters were symbolic, and that I didn't grasp of what. In that sense, maybe the book was a bit too smart for me, and if that's the case then I am at fault *hangs head*. However, a ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
It is hard to believe that this is Erick Setiawan's first book. It is well written with reality, symbolism, mysticism and fantasy. This is not my usual choice of reading material but I found I was drawn into the book by the end of the first chapter. I found it difficult to put down, wanting to figure out the mysterious aspects, and to see what happens to the characters with pity, admiration and hopes of redemption. The writing style is one that I love in a book, because it does not spell out eve ...more
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, book_club
Meridia, the daughter of two distant, distracted, and angry parents, has grown up in a house haunted by an unrelenting cold, mysterious colored mists, apparitions in the mirror, and a staircase that expands and contracts without warning. When she is sixteen she meets and falls in love with Daniel, whose mother Eva becomes the driving force of the novel. Eva dominates and manipulates everyone in her life, and her anger is manifested as a swarm of bees. Meridia and Eva spend the book locked in a b ...more
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So did anyone esle find this book hard to read? 2 28 Oct 03, 2020 03:49AM  
Q&A with Erick Se...: Your book 5 41 May 24, 2015 05:17AM  
A Novel Read: Of Bees and Mist ~ September 2013 BotM discussion thread 2 9 Sep 15, 2013 04:46AM  
Bookworm Bitches : March 2013: Of Bees and Mist 124 187 Jun 12, 2013 04:17PM  
Mom's Book Banter: April Book Discussion: Of Bees and Mist 17 13 May 14, 2013 05:03PM  
New Authors 3 43 Aug 19, 2012 04:11PM  

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ERICK SETIAWAN was born in 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. A quiet, shy child, he was thankfully raised in a family of gifted storytellers, who taught him that while life might have an endless supply of conflict, not all of it translates into a good story. Due to the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent in Indonesia, his childhood was often fraught with tension, which prompted him to t ...more

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