The Murmur of Bees
By Sofia Segovia, Simon Bruni (Translator)
476 pages, Amazon $8.99 paper back
Back in January I picked up a 2022 PopSugar Reading Challenge list and have been slowly trying to complete the list this year. One of the options is a book with an onomatopoeia in the title. Since I wanted something with a little more substance than Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom I had to turn towards Google to help me find a title. Low and behold, PopSugar gives out references for each section in the challenge. That might have made my life easier at the start of the year, but oh well. Once I found the suggested title, I turned to Amazon to see what might be listed on Kindle Unlimited. Not only was The Murmur of Bees on KU but also free on Audible. I listened to this amazing story and truly feel that is the best way to absorb this tale.
A dual point of view novel, the reader is taken on a journey from early before the Spanish Influenza and the Mexican Revolution through the years and the recollections of the son, born to his family years after the other children had moved away and started their own lives. The story starts with the discovery of a baby left under a bridge and covered in bees when found. This child proves to be mysterious and special to the family who adopts him and cares for him as if he is their own child. Simonopio is disfigured and is probably why a family left him because of local superstitions at the time. The locals feared he was “kissed by the devil” and would bring harm to any who crossed his path. The Morales family welcomes him into their home and watch over him as he grows and his gifts develop over the years.
Simonopio has visions that help his adoptive family flee from harm and bring beauty into their lives. The bees he was found with never truly leave him and become his protectors and guide. While growing up Simonopio develops a relationship with the bees and follows their scent to the special location on the farm where they gather their pollen. His discovery changes the path of the farm during a time when the Mexican government is trying to control landowners. As the story unfolds the author also takes the reader through the memory of Francisco Jr. as he tells his story to a cab driver.
The feelings evoked from this novel are intense and beautiful as the family moves through time, changes, and adapts to what their lives and those around them mold into over the years. Beautifully written, even in the translated and audio version, the reader can feel the depth and emotion the author conveys over the pages. I do think that for me, I did much better listening to the story via audio than I would have read it on the page. The voices brought the characters to life and made a narrated story seem more like a first-person recollection.
I highly recommend taking the time to read and absorb this story and explore the depth of character development throughout the tale. The book is heartwarming and thought provoking, with an added touch is mystic. Although that mystic in no way makes this book about magic but draws the reader to think and understand that there are some people who are more intuitive than others. Family, love, county, and heritage are strong underlying themes, you will not want to miss picking this book up and reading.
Contributed by Allison Libby-Thesing