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.
"Of Bees and Mist is sheer enchantment. Erick Setiawan has created a magical world just outside of our own, made all the more human and compelling by its rich and astonishing strangeness." 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. Of Bees and Mist is a stunningly accomplished first novel." 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
"A fascinating domestic drama." Washington Post
"A story that pulses with life." San Francisco Chronicle
"A looping joy to read." Denver Post
"A fascinating domestic drama."
--Carolyn See, The Washington Post
Erick Setiawan's richly atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families; their destructive jealousies, their loves and losses, their sacrifices and deeply rooted deceptions, and their triumphs.
Of Bees and Mist is a fable of one woman's determination to overcome the haunting magic that is created by the people she loves and the oppressive secrets behind their broken lives. Raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, Meridia 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 beheading cauliflowers in the kitchen. At sixteen, desperate to escape, Meridia marries a tenderhearted young man. Little does she suspect that his family is 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--the wickedest mother-in-law imaginable.
Erick 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.
An escapist's delight: Readers of magical-realist fiction will instantly be captivated by this fairy tale that is richly evocative of the lives of women and their complex relationships. 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.
Distinctive, outstanding women's fiction: Part female-driven family saga, part love story, Of Bees and Mist centers on Meridia, who tries to escape her alienating childhood and mysterious parents by running away at sixteen to marry a tenderhearted young man, whose family is harboring secrets of their own. Setiawan takes readers through a tumultuous thirty-year journey of hope and heartbreak as Meridia's capacity for love, courage, and sanity is pushed to the brink. Filled with fantasy and melodrama, Of Bees and Mist is an epic story of family and friendship, of secrets and magic — a story that is altogether touching, honest, and entirely memorable.
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.