|Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and rightfully so! Setiawan's debut is magical in every sense of the word and it is the absolute perfect book to lead us (and the conversation!) into the ethereal world of summer.|
Of Bees and Mist is the tale of Meridia-raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, she spends her childhood feeling neglected and invisible. Every evening her father vanishes inside a blue mist without so much as an explanation, and her mother spends her days venomously beheading cauliflowers in the kitchen. At sixteen, desperate to escape, Meridia marries a tenderhearted young man and moves into his seemingly warm and charming family home. Little does she suspect that his parents are harboring secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden. There are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other. And there is Eva, the formidable matriarch whose grievances swarm the air like an army of bees. In this haunting story, Setiawan takes Meridia on a tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak as she struggles to keep her young family together and discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as the shocking truths about her husband's family.
Readers of magical-realist fiction will instantly be captivated by this richly evocative fairy tale. Of Bees and Mist takes place in a nameless town during a timeless era, where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, ghosts and clairvoyance-both real and imagined-are an everyday reality. Setiawan skillfully blends the real and the fantastical as he follows our heroine over a thirty year time span in which her love, courage, and sanity is tested to the limits.
The First Look Book Club sends each of the members a free Advance Readers Copy of the book and just asks that members join the online book discussions. They arrange for the author and publisher to participate and take questions from members. The last one was particularly fun with Katherine Howe and her publisher patiently describing their writing and publishing process and the ins and outs of the book, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Here's my review of Katherine Howe's debut novel and an earlier post on Katherine Howe.
Check out the site for yourself!