Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The 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.
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again.
Moving, powerful, compassionate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. It is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.
The good part of having been locked out of my blog for several weeks: plenty of time to think about my reaction to this book. This was the kind of story that blew me away, but has me feeling so incredibly inept at putting it all into words. Here goes nothin’. . .
Two words keep coming to mind when I think about Nuri and Afra’s story: beautiful and brutal. First the obvious: their journey from Aleppo to England is brutal, mentally, physically, and emotionally brutal. And what made it even harder to wrap my head around it is the fact that this is a reality for so many people. Lefteri used her experiences as a volunteer at a UNICEF-supported refugee center in Athens, Greece, to help shape this story, and I think it allowed for a much more authentic story. This book brought the refugee crisis to life for me in a much more eye-opening way than I get from the evening news.
Second: beautiful. The arc of their story, from where they start to where they end, physically and emotionally, was such a tremendous journey. Their ability to find their way forward through everything shows such incredible perseverance and courage. Lefteri’s writing style was lyrical and engaging. And the way she segued into Nuri’s flashbacks was brilliant.
I’m going to say it again: The Beekeeper of Aleppo blew me away. If you’re the slightest bit interested in the synopsis, if you want a little more insight into the Syrian refugee crisis, if any part of my ramblings piqued your curiosity: read this book! Also, Lefteri’s author’s note at the end where she talks about her time as a volunteer added a level of depth and reality to the book I hadn’t expected and wouldn’t have realized on my own.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Author stats: Twitter
Book stats: Hardcover, 336 pages, Ballantine Books, August 27, 2019