A smart, original fantasy from one of Ireland’s bright new stars
Out of the great lyrical tradition of Irish writing comes this astonishing tale, thrumming with the energy of a hive, beautifully observed, and poetically phrased: the story of a group of bee characters more movingly human than most “people” in contemporary fiction.
The heroine of Soinbhe Lally's fantastic novel is Thora, a worker bee who seems to have been born busy - and in fact she has. She's never had time, nor the inclination to question the endless work she's expected to do for the good of the hive. Not even the fact that she's supposed to take care of the lazy, condescending drone bees, who seem to do nothing but demand honey and trash the comb, expecting the workers to clean up after them.
But Thora has been born at a time of great ferment in the world of bees. She meets Belle, a fellow worker who's more than willing to complain out loud. And she befriends two unusual drones, Alfred and Mo, one a loveable, misunderstood poet, and the other a revolutionary philosopher. In fact, Mo thinks its his duty to get Thora to think about her life as the first step in an even grander scheme: the education and emancipation of the entire class of female worker bees!
With crystal clear prose and a plot full of drama, emotion and provocative themes, A Hive for the Honeybee opens a door to intense discussion and private thought for readers exploring their place in the world.
Reviews and Awards
American Booksellers Pick of the List 1999
New York Book Show Third Place Hardcover Fiction Book
New York Book Show Merit Hardcover Fiction Jacket
⋆ “Reminiscent of Richard Adams's Watership Down... in its artful and complete creation of the world of an animal group, Lally's novel also holds up a mirror to our society. Who is in charge here? Why do we continue to act as if other creatures are our enemies? What is the reason for our life? What is our destiny? Why do we die? Thora, Mo, and Alfred search for answers to these questions, and yet the life of the hive continues in the same way it always has. Pencil sketches full of energy, delicacy, and humor show bees with human faces, easily recognizable as Thora, Belle, Mo, and Alfred…Memorable in every way.” - School Library Journal, starred review
⋆ “Lally lyrically describes the natural setting, as well as fascinating details about the care and upkeep of a hive. Her gently humorous and touching portraits of Belle, Thora and the rest will endear these characters to young readers, while the escalating drama, leading up to a war with the wasps, will keep pages turning… And the icing on the cake: this is a beautifully designed volume, with its gold shadow-striped jacket, honeycomb-embossed case and pencil-drawn chapter heads by Brewster that are both amusing and delicate.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Antz meets Animal Farm in this allegory about the work women and men do to keep civilization humming…Young people who pick this up will find an inventive and thoughtful novel. Along with interesting character interaction, Lally is also meticulous in her re-creation of hive life…readers will come away with a great deal of knowledge about what keeps bees so busy. Drawings by Patience Brewster add a whimsical…note to the sophisticated text.”- Booklist, boxed review
“Comparisons to Animal Farm are a given here, although Lally's beehive is a more universal allegory for our common social and political ills than was Orwell's indictment of Soviet socialism.” - The Horn Book
Young Adult Fiction
Trim Size: 5" x 7 1/2"
Page Count: 224
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Edwards Fuglewicz
Rights Available? yes