Blurb (as on Goodreads):
In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
What will you find from his story?
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.
Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.
Being someone who is drawn towards stories on war and immigrants, I have suffered a lot of heartbreaks. I have read about the pain of leaving everything behind (including loved ones), the devastation that war brings, the loss of family and friends and the migration to a new place amidst countless hardships. But let me say this out loud, I wasn’t prepared for this. ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ might not qualify as an intense book but the emotions that I have felt while reading Nuri and Afra’s story were not subtle or ordinary.
‘Lefteri’, through this story has given a protagonist who is succumbing to his circumstances, bit by bit. After losing his nephew in the war, followed by losing his own son, Nuri is determined to leave Aleppo and reunite with his cousin and his family in England. But Afra, Nuri’s one true companion is now blind and he has to take up the responsibility and lead his family of two into safety.
Nuri’s character is so endearing and gentle, and he tries to see the best in every situation. He is a Beekeeper at heart and his bees are keeping him alive in this painful ordeal. The author talks about the effects of war and PTSD, and how simply she shows us that even a resilient and strong man can break down in the face of war and death. The characterization is something to look forward to and the balance between the actual immigration and the effect it had on the characters.
Absolutely beautiful writing, engrossing and heartfelt.
*Thank you HarperCollins In for the copy. All opinions are my own*