An advert for The Beekeeper of Aleppo pops up on my social media almost every day.
I usually ignore these blatant attempts to get me to buy something based on my online preferences.
But this one keeps coming up, time and time again. I’ve done a bit of reading up about it now and have just ordered myself a copy.
I was fascinated to discover that the author of this novel, Christy Lefteri, is coming to speak at Bridport Literary Festival on Monday 4 November in the Bull Hotel Ballroom.
It’s a book that lots of people are talking about. It’s a novel with a 4.3 star rating on goodreads.com, a website I look at from time to time when I want to know what real book lovers think. Users of this site have read and reviewed thousands of books, and many of them have done so in a very detailed and thoughtful way.
The novel is described as an ‘unforgettable love story of a mother blinded by loss and her husband who insists on their survival as they undertake the Syrian refugee trail to Europe’.
Giving it five stars, Angela M says: ‘It’s a heartbreaking, realistic rendering of the refugee experience, of people struggling to make it to a country that would provide asylum from a place where they have endured incredible loss and face imminent danger. In spite of the heartache, it’s a beautifully written story and I highly recommend it. ‘
Dem rated it four stars: ‘What a thought provoking and haunting piece of fiction, beautifully written and the reader does get a horrifying glimpse into the refugee and asylum crisis and the challenges and heartbreak families caught up in this nightmare in Syria have trying to flee to safety.’
Says Ben East, in The Observer: ‘Three years ago, Christy Lefteri worked in a refugee centre in Athens. While she was hugely affected by the stories she heard of traumatised people from Syria and Afghanistan, she also realised no one else would tell them. So the tale of Afra, a woman blinded by the explosion that killed her son, and Nuri, her beekeeper husband, formed in her mind.
‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo is the result, a story of loss, love, resilience and hope as the couple escape Syria for, eventually, the UK. In the same school as The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Kite Runner, it’s impossible not to be moved by Lefteri’s plea for humanity, and perhaps inspired, too.’
Alastair Mabbott in The National says: ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a relevant, timely book, but impresses most as a compassionate and truthful character study. It’s a remarkable account of the dislocation endured by displaced persons across the world, an important and necessary novel that humanises the dispossessed who are all too often demonised.’
So thank you to my social media adverts. This is one BridLit event not to miss.