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The Secret Life of Bees February 11, 2006

Posted by sensawunda in Books.

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd,
is not speculative fiction, but it has sense of wonder in it anyway. I love finding it in unexpected places.

It’s a realistic (if soft-focus) novel about a 14-year-old girl in 1964 South Carolina, with reverberations from the civil rights movement shaking things up. The first chapter hints at wonder, in the ghostly presence of bees in the walls of Lily’s bedroom that come out to commune with her at night, that seem to leave her messages in her loneliness.

The sense of wonder thrums subtly under the surface through most of the novel as she becomes aware of a spirituality that nevertheless eludes her grasp. Only as she works through issues of guilt, grief, family and race does she become capable of what she seeks. Her gentle epiphany is where the sense of wonder comes in, and it only lasts a little while, as spiritual peaks do; but it’s enough to lend this novel a lovely resonance.

Sensawundameter: WandWandWand



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