‘Little Bee’ by Chris Cleave

To avoid any confusion, right at the outset I must say that this book was given another title by UK publishers: “The Other Hand”. There are no other differences and the book is exactly the same. Often books in UK have different covers, in this case it is also the title, which is not a problem as long as you know about it. The main character is called  Little Bee.

I actually just read Chris Cleave’s “Gold”, and now I have read another book of his. He is that good. Cleave is master at the unfolding of a story. Just when you think everything is rolling along nicely and something is going to be resolved, he throws in a twist and the tension builds again. He has a third book ‘Incendiary’ which has also been made into a movie, which I hope to read soon.

The issues Cleave deals with in ‘Little Bee’ are important. He doesn’t shy away from hard topics and deals with them beautifully, building empathy for people in difficult circumstances and celebrating the human spirit. And all of this is wrapped up in a novel which is well written, compelling, easy to read, and not without moments of laughter and joy. In telling the story Cleave transforms what could be a sad and depressing topic, into something hopeful and compassionate.

When you are reading ‘Little Bee’ you have a book in your hands. It is likely that at the same time you have a small book somewhere in your house which is called a passport. When you are finished with ‘Little Bee’, I reckon you will never think about that small book in the same way, ever again.

With Little Bee it is best that you know almost nothing about the book before you read it. All I will give you is a small clue on the back of the book. “This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice. Two years later, they meet again – the story starts there…”

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