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Saturday, 13 February 2010
Of Bees And Mist
by Erick Setiawan
This novel is an absolutely beautiful read. It weaves threads of magic through a cloth of reality so cleverly that it is hard to see the join. As you read you will find yourself accepting the impossible as entirely likely.
We start the story in the company of young Meridia, daughter of the mysterious Ravenna and Gabriel. We follow her as she meets Daniel and, with him, hopes to escape her house of mists only to find that things get even worse when she is confronted by the angry bees at her in-laws’ house.
There is an absolute joy in the use of language running throughout the story, and Setiawan’s descriptive powers are second to none. From the hustle and spectacle of Independence Plaza to the roses and marigolds of Orchard Road the writing is intensely visual.
Scenes are set with meticulous attention to detail. Ravenna’s kitchen full of pointless activity and the hissing of skillets contrasts with Gabriel’s forbidding study with its hopeless pursuit of knowledge.
Mysteries run through the story and carry the reader forward. What is Eva really up to? What is the source of Patina’s suffering? Will Daniel prove himself as a husband? And, running through the entire story is the intermittent presence of the ethereal Hannah.
‘Of Bees And Mist’ will truly allow you to lose yourself in another world. It is a world where strange and unexpected things happen. It is full of emotion, danger and confusion. The conclusion comes as a satisfying surprise after a twisting plot which will keep you guessing until the end.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt