Monday, December 7, 2009

Little Bee

Little Bee Little Bee by Chris Cleave

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Little Bee is wonderful.
I agree with the jacket copy in that the magic is not in what happens, but in how the story unfolds. How the story unfolds is in beautiful language, in beauty and horror and everyday meanness and the kindness of strangers. The lives of a Nigerian refugee/illegal immigrant and a middle-class British magazine editor intersect. The book could be about the plundering of natural resources, about the state of deportation centers in Britain, about adultery, about first world/third world relations. In the hands of a lesser writer, the book could be about these things.
But like all good novels (good stories), the book is about what it is to be human. I love Little Bee's voice, it reminds me of Richard Llewellyn's achievement in How Green Was My Valley, how translation becomes poetry in humor and tragedy alike.
Little Bee is wonderful.

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