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Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh

Telling the Bees

Literary Fiction   Family Drama   eBook Favourites   
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‘Telling the Bees’ is an original, contemplative, little gem of a book. As you read, try not to overthink, try to stop your thoughts from rushing to and fro and just let the words and feelings evoked wash over you. Peggy Hesketh has created an unusual main character, if described by someone who didn't know better, who didn't know the inner workings of his mind, Albert might be called uninteresting. Bees feature actively in this tale, Albert’s ability to converse with people, most often directly relates to his connection with and understanding of his hives. Each chapter starts with an extract of information about bees, there is a delicate link between these descriptions and the story. This novel emotes a gentleness and thoughtfulness, the real wonder though, lies in the piercing bite that it skilfully delivers to your consciousness. ~ Liz Robinson


Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh

Albert Honig's most constant companions have always been his bees. A never-married octogenarian, he makes a modest living as a beekeeper, as his father and his father's father did before him. Deeply acquainted with the workings of his hives, Albert is less versed in the ways of people, especially his neighbour Claire, whose beauty and vivaciousness transformed his young life. Yet years passed by, feelings were repressed, and chances missed. Until one day Albert, led by a trail of bees, discovers Claire's body. Through the quiet minutiae of life, he begins to examine the truths that lay hidden under the secrets and silence that hovered between them for so long. With echoes of The Remains of the Day, Telling the Bees is a haunting novel about lies of omission and commission, the persistence of regret, and the sweet anguish of re-opening wounds in order to finally heal them.


'An engrossing and unputdownable read.'
New Internationalist

'A marvel. With infinite compassion and perfect pitch, Peggy Hesketh has written an American classic.'
Elizabeth George, author of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries

'Touching and captivating.'
Press Association

'What a wonderful novel! The voice is so masterfully done, the mysteries of life and death so compellingly evoked.'
Karen Joy Fowler, author of We are All Completely Beside Ourselves

'A stately and beautiful novel ... Only a superhuman reader will be able to resist foraging through the house looking for that half-eaten jar of honey.'
Carolyn See Washington Post

'A story of shared history, secrets of omission, and revisited memories, Telling the Bees is nostalgic and hauntingly poetic. Richly detailed and sparsely populated ... Reminiscent of the work of Karen Joy Fowler and Peter Orner, Telling the Bees reminds readers that even quiet hives are deceptively active.'

About the Author

Peggy Hesketh

Peggy Hesketh is a journalist and author. Her short story 'A Madness of Two' was selected by Elizabeth George for inclusion in her anthology Two of the Deadliest. Peggy currently teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of California. Telling the Bees is her first novel.

Author photo © Chris Griffiths

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Book Info

Publication date

4th June 2015


Peggy Hesketh

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Oneworld Publications


320 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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