In this novel set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the influenza of 1918, an uncannily gifted child named Simonopio has visions of the future. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in the town of Linares will, in time, be divined.
...enchanting ... The book’s publication...announces a writer whose absorbing yet accessible prose and gift for sprinkling the mystical into a deeply human narrative is sure to draw comparisons to Latin American greats, such as Isabel Allende ... Segovia writes with lush sensuality about the dynastic ranching family and its servants at the center of the novel ... But Segovia doesn’t fall prey to sentimentality ... In Simonopio, Segovia has created an unforgettable figure, a character who is both mysterious and endearing. Segovia imbues him with a heavy dose of magical realism ... But he is also an embodiment of uniquely human wisdom that can melt even a cynic’s heart.
A magical-realism romp from Mexico, Sofía Segovia’s The Murmur of Bees—her first novel translated into English—offers a dizzying swirl of history, family lore, tragedy, redemption, and, of course, magic. It’s the kind of magic that Latin American authors have developed to a high and subtle art, and it infuses every page of this saga ... A complicated picture of Mexico emerges. We see a society that understands magic and miracles as a part of life, but sees also that political upheaval, violence, and endless, wrenching class struggles are part of it, too. The magic is the novel’s great charm ... Readers used to brisk, dialogue-driven novels—typical fare in the U.S.—may find themselves challenged by the leisurely pace of much of this book. It’s worth surrendering to Segovia, though, and sinking into these pages because she’s very good at what she does, and her writing is lovely ... Multiple narrators move in a seamless way through the chapters, an approach that is especially effective as the book builds to its powerful climax, with each shift of narrator adding another piece to our understanding of what is happening, while simultaneously making us wait for the inevitable. In these later pages, the story is irresistible.
The Murmur of Bees...intrigues from the start. Ms. Segovia combines a subtly magical atmosphere and unique, yet believable characters with kinetic narration to craft a story with broad appeal. I particularly loved Ms. Segovia’s vivid depiction of northeastern Mexico, letting this reader explore the area’s pastoral farms and rocky hillsides with Simonopio and his murmuring bees. You will enjoy The Murmur of Bees too!