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Little Bee Paperback – Aug 25 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada; Later Printing edition (Aug. 25 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385665318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385665315
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.9 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #160,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Amazon Best of the Month, February 2009: The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel "don't want to spoil" the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and "no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2." Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A very special book indeed. Profound, deeply moving and yet light in touch, it explores the nature of loss, hope, love and identity with atrocity its backdrop. Read it and think deeply."
-The Bookseller (UK)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 23 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wow....this is a book you need to read. Yes - need.

Quoting from the flyleaf of Little Bee:

"We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something , so we will just say this: 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. Once you have read it you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how it unfolds."

Okay I was sceptical when I first saw the flyleaf, but then I started to read, and I couldn't put it down. And guess what? - I 'm going to honour the request to not tell you what happens. I know - what kind of review is that? But I think this book is a journey every reader should take on their own. What I will tell you is that author Chris Cleave has created a powerful, moving, exceptional story. The idea was inspired by his childhood in West Africa and by a visit to a British immigration detention centre. The character of Little Bee and her views of the world and life are heartbreaking and compelling. Cleave has created amazing prose, such as:

"Learning the Queen's English is like scrubbing off the bright red varnish from your toenails, the morning after a dance. It takes a long time and there is always a little bit left at the end, a stain of red along the growing edges to remind you of the good time you had."

The narrative moves between Little Bee and Sarah. What is interesting are their differing views on the same events. All of the supporting characters, Sarah's husband, lover and son are all powerfully written, provoking strong reaction and emotion.
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Format: Audio CD
Little Bee is about a Nigerian refugee. There are two main characters telling her story: herself and a British woman, Sarah. Each has a chapter and the chapters intertwine sequentially.
I've seen reviews with complaints, I guess no one was actually talking about the audiobook which I found fascinating.
I was happy for the bookmark feature as this book has tremendously beautiful metaphors that I wanted to remember. It is well read and well written. It generates feelings, emotions; it makes you laugh, it makes you cry. If this is not great literature then I do not know what is.
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Format: Paperback
There are only a handful of books that I love as much as I loved Little Bee. The story is so engaging and poignant that I could not put it down, even after I was finished the book. I felt so connected to the characters that the book stayed with me long after I read it.
The way the events of the story are unveiled is as captivating as the characters, all beautifully flawed and human. Cleave's ability to write a novel with such strong female protaganists is astounding, had I not known Cleave was male I might have thought that a woman wrote this novel, and now I really want there to be an Orange Prize for male authors so Cleave can be nominated.
I am grateful to Cleave for sharing this story and look forward to reading his other work.
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Format: Paperback
Like the book jacket asks, I will not give away any part of this superbly written novel. However, I will say that this book is one of the most amazing, emotional, thought- provoking, intelligent, eloquent, honest, heart-wrenching, hopeful and essentially life changing books that I have ever read. It made me wonder what kind of a person I was, and what kind of a person would I be, faced with the same situations as these characters. I dare anyone to read this and not fall in love with Little Bee like I did.
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Format: Paperback
The book sets out to be deliberately opaque and mysterious...........ooh read this, don't tell anyone what happens it's so special, tell others about it but don't spoil it for them, etc etc etc.

A fantastic, thought-provoking read that stays with you for weeks and months afterwards, invading your thoughts at unexpected moments?

Or an extremely clever marketing ploy?

Being a grumpy, miserable cynic and having read the book - I choose marketing ploy.

Well then what to write...........A meets B and C, who are married to each other, at location X. D who is A's sister is present at the meeting, which is soon joined by E and another group we'll call the F's. A disagreement occurs. Fast forward a while, A contacts C, now in location Y. This upsets C greatly, and has a calamitous effect on him, B and her close friend G and her child H. The rest of the book introduces other minor characters that I shall refer to as I, J, K and L. (I might have missed out an M and a N, but none of these are major players, so don't worry too much.) The climax of the book involves A, B and H, along with some O's at location X.

Had the blurb presented the book in a more traditional fashion, I'm no marketing guru, but I would guess a fraction of the copies actually sold would have been. One of the characters in the book, G actually espouses the same opinion. The topic under debate, doesn't typically interest people, until such time as the right wing tabloids want to beat the drum and whip up some populist fury.
I would probably have passed it over.

That said, it was enjoyable enough, but perhaps I needed to be wearing my magician's cloak to feel the magic.Well, I wasn't.

3 from 5, must dash or I'll be late for Quidditch practise.
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