Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Novels about Bees?

I was thinking tonight of a novel I read over the summer, Generation A by Douglas Coupland, in which honeybees are a central part of the plot. In this futuristic novel, bees have all disappeared, but then out of nowhere, a few individuals from different parts of the world are stung by bees and then gathered together by researchers in hopes that somehow this series of stings might hold the secret to restoring bee populations all over the world. In the meantime, fruits and vegetables are rare commodities, except for people rich enough to buy "hand-pollinated" products. I'd read several of Coupland's novels before, but I didn't know he'd written anything to do with bees at all until I happened upon a used copy of this book in a local bookstore. The book is sort of a contemporary counterpart to his 1980s classic, Generation X. If there's something to worry about in our world, Coupland's on top of it, and colony collapse disorder is no exception.

I guess we've all heard of The Secret Life of Bees, but I'm curious to know about other bee-related novels. (I have to admit that I haven't read that novel, only seen the movie.) If you have a moment to leave a comment, please do share the titles of any novels you've read that mention honeybees.


  1. Stumbled on your site while looking for bee novels! My friend has a novel about bees on submission to editors and I was curious about the trend. Here's what I've found:

    Little Bee: A Novel -- Chris Cleave
    The Secret Life of Bees -- Sue Monk Kidd
    The Language of Bees: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes -- Laurie R. King
    Bee Season -- Myla Goldberg
    Telling the Bees -- Peggy Hesketh
    Of Bees and Mist -- Erick Setiawan

  2. Thanks, Caroline! What's interesting about Coupland's novel is that he writes about hand-pollination like this futuristic practice, but it's actually happening now in some places. Good luck to your friend with her book. Have her drop me a line if she'd ever like to do a guest post or be interviewed for this blog. :)

  3. When I first read coupland's novel I'd never heard anyone talking about the disappearance of bees before, and knowing that coupland is always on top of current threats in his novels got me worried. Now suddenly more and more people are talking about the fact that bee populations are being decimated worldwide. It's so worrying, and I want everyone to read this novel to get an idea of the grave consequences awaiting.

    1. Thanks for this insightful comment. I totally agree with you. What blew me away in the novel was the hand-pollination and how fruit became a luxury. I thought this hand-pollination was something Coupland just made up, and then a month later I stumbled on an article about the practice occurring in China. I really do hope that more and more people become mindful of the importance of bees!

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  4. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. one of the best novels i've ever read (and one of the most disturbing ones), and bees play a big role in it. The rest of the story is very interesting too: a group of organic gardeners trying to survive in a dystopian world.