Book review – The Bees by Laline Paull

The BeesThe beautiful book is one of the most unusual tales I’ve read. Told entirely from the point of view of a single bee, Flora 717, it encompasses a whole life and society, from the confines of a hive to the surrounding orchard and beyond.

Flora is a sanitation bee – the lowest caste of her community, assumed by all to be without voice and without thought. When she learns to speak, she finds herself overcoming the preconceptions and prejudice of her sisters to rise through the ranks, and gradually comes to understand the politics and hidden dangers of her home.

The Bees is an exhilarating read – initially somewhat claustrophobic but expanding as Flora’s perceptions develop. The first time she experiences flight is a wonder that may leave you breathless, while her encounters with treacherous wasps and the ‘myriad’ are as enlightening to us as to Flora herself. Continue reading