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The Death of Bees (P.S.)by Lisa O'Donnell
Synopses & Reviews
Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
Neither of them were beloved.
Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's Maryhill housing estate isn't grand, the girls do have each other.
As the New Year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Lennie takes them in — feeds them, clothes them, protects them — and something like a family forms. But soon, the sisters' friends, their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls' family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, told in alternating voices, The Death of Bees is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for one another.
“In this first novel she pulls off the unusual pairing of grisly and touching.” New York Times
“O'Donnell's finely drawn characters display the full palette of human flaws and potential. Told in the alternating voices of Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie, this beautifully written page-turner will have readers fretting about what will become of the girls.” Booklist (starred review)
“[A] chiller told in three voices which will intrigue readers to the last pages….O'Donnell has done a masterful job of sketching her characters….The end is largely unexpected and highly dramatic, but at the same time is the perfect ending to this chilling tale…[a] brilliant book.” Examiner (Northern California)
“With characters and voices the remind me of other strong debut novels (like Fates Will Find Their Way and Vaclav and Lena), this book will appeal to readers who like a strong voice, dark humor, and compelling story lines told in a literary yet accessible way.” Publishers Weekly
“Lisa O'Donnell, an award-winning screenwriter, grabs the reader from the get-go...” Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“The author brilliantly paints the characters' best traits through the eyes of the other characters, and their worst traits through their own voices.” RT Book Reviews
“O'Donnell's wildly original debut examines the intricacies of betrayal and loyalty within one family and their effects on two vulnerable young girls….With a gritty but redemptive take on family and the price of secrets, O'Donnell's debut will be well-received by fans of mainstream literature and Scottish noir mysteries alike.” Shelf Awareness
“Quirky characters with distinct voices enliven this sometimes grim and often funny coming-of-age story in the vein of Karen Russell's best seller Swamplandia!. O'Donnell's debut is sure to be a winner.” Library Journal
“An unusual coming-of-age novel that features two sisters who survive years of abuse and neglect....The author's experience as a screenwriter is most definitely apparent, as the reader always hears the voices and can visualize the dramatic, sometimes appallingly grim scenes. Recommended.” Kirkus Reviews
“This vibrantly-imagined novel, by turns hilarious and appalling, is hard to resist.” Daily Mail (London)
“The Death of Bees steadily draws you into its characters emotional lives.” Financial Times
“Mixing The Ladykillers with Irvine Welsh's The Acid House…O'Donnell adeptly balances caustic humour and compassion.” Guardian
A riveting, brilliantly written debut novel, The Death of Bees is a coming-of-age story in which two young sisters attempt to hold the world at bay after the mysterious death of their parents.
Marnie and Nelly, left on their own in Glasgow's Hazlehurst housing estate, attempt to avoid suspicion until Marnie can become a legal guardian for her younger sister.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, and told in alternating voices, The Death of Bees by Lisa ODonnell is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.
About the Author
Lisa O'Donnell won the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for The Wedding Gift. A native of Scotland, she is now a full-time writer and lives in Los Angeles with her two children. The Death of Bees is her frst novel and was the winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize.
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