Synopses & Reviews
Raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, Meridia grows up lonely and miserable. But at age sixteen, she has a chance at happiness when she falls in love with Daniel — a caring and naive young man. Soon they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her husband's family, unaware that they harbor dark 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 and the wickedest mother-in-law imaginable — whose grievances swarm the air in an army of bees. As Meridia struggles to keep her life and marriage together, she discovers long-buried secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that inexorably push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.
Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree over a period of thirty years — their galvanic love and passion, their shifting alliances, their superstitions and complex domestic politics — and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality. Erick Setiawan's astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and entirely memorable.
"Setiawan's debut novel spans 30 years in this heartfelt magical-realist story of two rival families living in a mystical world that transcends both time and place. Meridia is a lonely child; a mysterious incident when she was an infant has torn apart her parents, leaving them sharing nothing but a cold, mist-filled home. Not until Meridia meets the charmer Daniel, at age 16, does she finally feel loved. They marry and move in with his family and at first Meridia loves her life in Daniel's home. But she quickly learns of matriarch Eva's deceitful, manipulative ways and her power, both natural and supernatural, which she uses to control her family. When Meridia rebels against Eva, finding unexpected support from her parents, the rivalry solidifies and a lifelong battle begins. As time passes, Meridia faces heartbreak and betrayal, becoming a strong, fiercely independent woman. While filled with fortune-tellers, ghosts and unexplained phenomena, the relationships between the various characters are true to life so that fans of fantasy and fiction lovers alike are sure to enjoy this magical tale." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Of Bees and Mist is sheer enchantment. Erick Setiawan has created a magical world just outside of our own..." Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child and Angels of Destruction
"A beautifully crafted adult fairy tale of love, loss and loyalty that is at once witty, magical, and moving." John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things and The Lovers
"Of Bees and Mist is set in a secretive and mythical landscape where readers will yearn to be. A marvel of a novel." Da Chen, author of Colors of the Mountain and Brothers
Setiawan's atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families, their loves and losses, their destructive jealousies and deceptions, and their triumphs.
About the Author
Erick Setiawan was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents and moved to the United States in 1991. He is a graduate of Stanford University and currently lives in San Francisco.