Hour of the Bees blends a Mexican-American family’s experience of dementia with an estranged grandparent, and the possibility of magic.
When Carol’s grandfather is found to have dementia, the whole family moves to his rural home to begin packing up his life ready to move into the care home. In the intense drought, Carol is not quite sure if the things she is seeing are hallucinations or magic.
My interest was piqued by the bees initially, but I stayed for the whole story which deals with what “home” and otherness really is, alongside human utilitarian view of nature.
A major component of the story is Carol’s struggle with her Mexican ancestry and identity in a white-dominated culture, dropping the “ina”from Carolina and using the anglicised Carol, and how her interactions with her family brings her closer to her cultural roots.
The magic realism is so subtly woven in that it barely feels like it could be beyond our reality.
I absolutely loved this novel, which stands firmly in the middle ground between middle grade and young adult fiction. It is a book that has not gained the buzz (sorry) that it truly deserves.
Interested? Get it here.
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Thank to Walker Books for sharing this copy with me.