The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

A fascinating novel about two girls growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, The Death of Bees is at once touching and gruesome, heart-rending and macabre.

As the novel opens, sisters Nelly and Marnie have killed their parents and buried them in the back yard. And they’re not telling anybody. If you can handle the cussing, drinking, and general bad behavior of fifteen-year-old Marnie, and the gruesome scenes as the sisters attempt to keep the bodies of their parents concealed, the characters of this novel are enticing and the story riveting.

As a former inhabitant of Scotland, I can also testify to the sense of realism in the language, actions, and scenery of the novel. There is no romanticism here; the sisters quarrel, they are mean to one another. People die and things go wrong. Lennie, the girls’ neighbor who helps to care for them, makes a serious mistake in our introduction to him, but his conduct and thought throughout the rest of the novel not only redeem him, but also force us to question the nature of loneliness and what it can lead a man to.

But through it all there is an enduring message of hope in the relationships between the sisters and the people – namely Lennie their neighbor – that persists throughout the book.

This is a book which you could pick up and read in less than a day, but it is one which lingers long afterward.

Find and request this book in our catalog.

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