The History of Bees: A Novel
The History of Bees is a sweeping, centuries-long examination of how environmental changes affecting some of the Earth’s smallest creatures can have profound effects on the very fabric of human life. There are three main characters in three vastly different eras: Tao, a mother in China in 2098 at a time when the total disappearance of bees has consumed every citizen; William, living in England in 1851, fervently attempting to research the wondrous world of bees and communicate his findings to audiences who will never understand his passion; and George, an American in Ohio in 2007, who is horrified when the bee colonies that are his livelihood suddenly and inexplicably begin to disappear. Though these characters never meet, bees–and the role they play in human existence–connect them in ways they may never comprehend.
Lunde is deeply invested in her subject, and readers–particularly those with an interest in the natural world–will find much to admire here. Though the novel’s threads seem disconnected at times, the moving conclusion suggests how much we owe to our forebears and how costly the mistakes of modern society can be.