Title: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Author: Christy Lefteri
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019
I don’t think anyone is unaware of the refugee crisis that has gripped the word due to conflicts like the one in Syria. However, I think many, including myself, probably haven’t quite been able to completely grasp just how incredibly devastating it must be for the people who have had their lives destroyed. Reading books like The Beekeeper of Aleppo really drive home just what it must be like to have the home and country you love implode.
I found this story both very upsetting and yet still full of hope for the future. There is a great deal of sadness in the lives of these characters but they manage to find the small rays of hope that allow them to carry on their tortuous journey. The beekeeping aspect of the story was especially lovely – I thought the care Nuri and his cousin Mustafa take with their precious bees demonstrated the warmth certain people are able to retain even when they have been through hell. I also loved the relationship between Afra and Nuri which has been fractured due to events in Syria. Reading about how they find their way back to each other had me in tears more than once.
Overall, this is a timely and important novel which, although not based on real people, is a story that shows the true cost of war and violence. The author had worked as a volunteer in a refugee centre in Greece and she has brought to life the devastation she must have experienced and created a beautiful novel about love, loss and the cost of survival.