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The Bee-Loud Glade

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Meet Finch, a corporate drone and blogger who invents words and imaginary lives, but none as surreal as the life he's about to lead as a decorative hermit. Meet Mr. Crane, an eccentric billionaire whose whims and moods change as often as the landscape outside his employee's cave. Join them both as they search for naturalistic serenity in a land of postmodern complexity. Li ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 4th 2011 by Atticus Books (first published February 24th 2011)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  329 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Oct 22, 2010 marked it as my-publications  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: novels
I think it's pretty good, but I wrote it. I hope you'll enjoy it.

You can find links to some other reviews of the book at
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have to be fairly moved by a book, be it good or bad or in some strange way, to write a review about it. Usually I don't write a review because there are already thousands of them written, many of them expressing my very same thoughts, and why bother to say what's already been said? This time though, I am writing because there aren't that many reviews out there and this is a book that I feel is being overlooked. I'm hoping more people will read this book because I feel it's a tale that has ap ...more
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On September 11, 2001, my husband and I were camping on Dungeness Spit in Washington State when we heard the horrible news of the day. We felt lost and terrifyingly alone. We'd already been traveling for a couple of months and planned to keep traveling for a couple more but in those moments, nothing seemed more important than getting home. But we couldn't get home. Not easily. And so we did that which we found most comforting; we hiked.

We found some solace in the hike, but by late afternoon, we
Kevin Fanning
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was watching The Road Warrior the other day. (I know, right? I hadn't either.) It was at the part where Max's car, the last of the V8 Interceptors, is ruined, and he gets flown back to the oil rig and kind of has to make a decision about what he does next. And I thought: Wow, this reminds me so much of The Bee-Loud Glade.

Which is not to say that The Bee-Loud Glade perfectly encapsulates a dystopian/post-apocalyptic Australian sub-continent punk esthetic. It doesn't! At all. But it is to say t
Ben Loory
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
there's a feeling i get every time i start a book by philip k. dick-- this kind of gleeful levitating thing that happens in my chest-- when i realize not just that anything could happen, but that it is about to. this book did the same thing to me (though it's much more grounded and internal than pkd). it's a rare feeling and i quite enjoy it. read this book a month ago and still think about it every day.
Julie Aquilina
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
The concept is what hooked me for this book. Who doesn't love to imagine living as a for-hire hermit in a rich man's garden? Easy reading. Not much exciting actually happens past the unique and slightly quirky concept, but still an enjoyable summer read.
Apr 15, 2018 marked it as abandoned

Bailing around page 100. Interesting premise, but underwhelming in its execution.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Even the name Himmer reminds one of a sound one might hear in a bee-loud glen. Himmer the author leads us into a world we vaguely recognize (perhaps we are blind, too) as modern-day America: outside a large city sits a mansion on a hill. Just as in days of yore, when wealthy landowners changed the landscape to suit their tastes, a wealthy capitalist has modified his land holdings to create a lovely locale but bemoans the fact he has no time to enjoy it. So he hires a disaffected young man to liv ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: book clubs
Recommended to Carol by: Bank Square Books
I wish I had known about this book when Himmer appeared recently at our local bookstore (Bank Square Books). Having missed him, I picked the book up on my way out of town for vacation, intrigued, and it more than lived up to my expectations. The narrator, an unobtrusive, corner cubicle drone spends his days fabricating imaginary blogs, as well as the bloggers themselves, complete with back-stories. Suddenly it all comes crashing down and he is fired -- only to be rehired not long after by the my ...more
Helen Dunn
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
A strange little book about meditation and appreciating the quiet, small things in life.

Finch begins the story as an office drone who has a boring job and a boring, unsatisfying life. He eventually falls into the opportunity to become an estate hermit for an eccentric millionaire and over time he becomes a grizzled, skinny, nearly blind hermit who lives off the land in his bee-loud glade and finds that his spartan life is more valuable that money.

A book that highlights the beauty of meditation,
Laura Ellen
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think the urge to compare this book to others comes from the fact that the concept is so strong and the writing is particularly fresh in the current scene--I know that seems contradictory, but broader categories don't cut it. So I'll chime in here with my own comparison--this book made me feel the way I did when I read Kosinski's Being There, and not just because of content. In The Bee-Loud Glade, Himmer takes a sort of euro-conceit and filters it through an american sense consumerism and ambi ...more
Read 5/11/11 - 5/18/11
4 Stars: Strongly Recommended

What would you do for 5 million dollars? Would you give up life as you know it to live as a decorative hermit in some eccentric billionaire's backyard?

In Steve Himmer's The Bee-Loud Glade, that is exactly what our protagonist Mr. Finch does. Upon losing his position in Marketing as a blogger for Second Nature's hyper-efficient (read: fake, plastic, artificial) plants, Finch falls into a long, deep depression. His days and nights quickly b
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, adventure, nature
I don't know what to say to this book. It has left me with a lot of questions, but also a sense of peace mixed with peculiar nostalgia.

It's probably a fair amount of the worlds population that wishes removal from the world of noise and pollution to a land of simpleness, contemplation and peace. I certainly wouldn't mind it most days, confronted as I am with living inside an ancient monolith of a dirty city filled with so many rotten feelings. That's not to say that there aren't nice things to b
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Bee-Loud Glade boasts an intriguing premise: a faceless unemployed victim of corporate America gets offered his dream job. And is paid millions for it.

Finch is the poor soul whose job becomes jeopardized once a new boss asks what he did. Well, he developed fictive characters, bloggers really, who touted the faux plants and flowers manufactured by Second Nature. He also watched wild animal programs on the tube. A lot. After he’s axed, he holes up in his apartment and watches such programs eve
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Bee-Loud Glade is an invitation into the mind of a man, Mr. Finch, hired as a paid hermit. He is rescued from his post-firing depression by a wealthy eccentric to live on an estate in the garden cave, take a vow of silence and be watched. He fills his days with introspection: “I tied long chains of dandelions to wind around tree trunks and rocks for no other reason than I was there and so were they.” Occasionally, Finch’s quiet meditative journey is interrupted by the whims of employer: to p ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, and since I've never read anything about a decorative hermit, it doesn't quite compare with anything else I've read. It quietly says a lot about modern society and about how some people live in it. Dare I admit I see much of myself in someone who needs to create intricate imaginary lives to find some work to do at work, or feel that the work has meaning? I was also struck by the parallels of doing nothing in the technological world and that of the natural world. And jus ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Steve Himmer's debut novel, The Bee Loud Glade is a beautifully written story about a man who is hired to become a mute hermit while living among the flora and fauna of a private estate. Finch, who answers a spam email has been fired from his job which seemed to be a lot of energy spent doing nothing. He comes to embrace the outdoors and living alone with nature. This is a very peaceful read about a man discovering how to live a meaningful life and learning what skills and talents he may have be ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has to have one of the most interesting premises I've seen in a while. In short, a guy gets fired from his job running multiple blogs for imaginary people in order to market fake plants gets fired and pretty much quits life only to get hired by some rich guy to live as a hermit in his garden. Himmer makes good use of the premise as well. The rich guy becomes a sort of god figure, though god seems to drift in to become the rich guy in a way at some point. It's strange, but delightful. I ...more
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating contemporary tale about a cubicle worker that spent the last 10 years of his employment as a "brand recognition director" for an artificial plant company. He spent most of his time creating blogs for imaginary people, when suddenly his job was terminated. That was a start of his new life as a decorative hermit for an eccentric billionaire. It was a fun an amazing tale of discovery of the natural world and slowing down in a modern age when everything is hyper fast and urgent. I real ...more
E.V. Legters
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Steve Himmer's novel breaks buckets of rules. The best stories are about people who make choices? His Finch makes next to none. And yet we are taken on a deeply interesting, contemplative journey through (no spoiler here!) solitude. Charming, and funny -- yes, laugh out loud funny -- I highly recommend this one.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Linda by: BOTNS (Booktopia #1 author)
Really different and kept me guessing throughout. A man loses his job and because a recluse in his apartment, not shaving, showering or paying his bills for month. His previous job required sending e-mails, so when he gets an enticing e-mail he applies for and subsequently is hired to be a hermit on a rich man's property. Very interesting to watch the character development.
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A book in which nothing lt all happens, which I was unable to put down. A heroic journey inwards, from alienation In mainstream urbania to innocence and integration in solitude. Shimmering with almost-allegory, gentle and warm and funny. I never re-read anything but I will reread this.
Jen Gann
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Quiet and startling. And quietly startling.
Caroline Rose
Weird, wonderful, and impossible not to recommend.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cultural-fiction
Sometimes when I sat in my cubicle feeling like this:
"My cube was in a far corner of the department, near some filing cabinets to which the keys had been lost, so apart from occasional walks to the bathroom and my twice-daily route between front door and desk, I was easy to miss."

I would dream of a life like this:
"Berries were scattered all over the ground, slipping and squishing between my bare toes as I circled the potatoes and carrots and beans with the stoop and squint it takes me to get a g
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
First off, I am glad that the book didn't push the notion of Capitalist bad or Thoreauean thoughts. I read it for what it was, not looking for any deeper meaning.
Finch was an inept man, not bright, but a willing follower. He struggled to try the different crafts that Mr Crane suggested and accomplished a few. Finch didn't have aspirations and was humbled even more by his environment. He realized how small he was in the scheme of things. It was evident in the way that he participated in Mr Crane
Matt Briggs
Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read the Bee-Loud Glade in about three or four days. I'm a very slow reader. The book is a kind of high-concept book that falls right at the edge of naturalism and somethingess, much like Robert J. Lennon's novel The Castle. Both books are avery similar in that the bizarre concept in both books is plausible enough that I suspect some people might be confused about the intent of the book. Is this supposed to be real? In this book, an unemployed named named Finch, who works as kind of social med ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
While I liked and enjoyed reading this book, it did not live up to expectations. Perhaps my expectations, based on some reviews, were too high. I liked the story and Finch was certainly an original character, but I wished that the writing would have been more lyrical. I expected more from Finch, a blogger, who had previously created several online personas. Nearly, done with the book, I thought perhaps the simple reporting-style writing was Himmer’s intention, but I would have enjoyed the book m ...more
Mel Bosworth
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
ARC review by Mel Bosworth

When I finished reading Steve Himmer’s debut novel The Bee-Loud Glade, I sighed, then chuckled, then said, “Well done, Steve.” And then I thought of the movie The Toy, the movie with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. I haven’t seen that movie in ages, but it popped into my head as I reflected on what I’d just read.

The two stories are similar in that a wealthy eccentric hires a down-and-out man to do a very strange job. In The Toy, Gleason hires Pryor to be his bratty so
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Finch loses his job and shortly after he begins to unravel...until he responds to an email, set in motion by Mr. Crane, that gives Finch an opportunity to live his life as a hermit.

(view spoiler)
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Steve Himmer is the author of the novels The Bee-Loud Glade, Fram, and Scratch (coming 2016). His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Millions, Ploughshares online, Post Road, Los Angeles Review, Hobart, and other anthologies and journals. He edits the webjournal Necessary Fiction teaches at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
“If I've learned anything at all from the river it's to let jarring events come and go, that such tiny disruptions have no more weight in the world than fallen leaves on the water. A few ripples, a barely audible splash, and the surface soon returns to order. To swim toward each intrusion, to fish out a leaf and to sling it ashore, only prolongs the disturbance.” 4 likes
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