Today is Christmas Eve.
Today is my birthday.
Today I am fifteen.
Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
Neither of them were beloved.
Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren’t telling. While life in Glasgow’s Maryhill housing estate isn’t grand, the girls do have each other. Besides, it’s only a year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.
As the New Year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? Lennie takes them in—feeds them, clothes them, protects them—and something like a family forms. But soon enough, the sisters’ friends, their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls’ family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, told in alternating voices, The Death of Bees is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for one another.
About the Author
1. What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
My favorite book when I was little was The Princess and the Pea but the first book I remember reading as a child was a book about telling the time, which is weird because I’ve never been on time for anything in my life.
2. What are you reading right now?
The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman. My agent sent it to me last year at Christmas and this is the first chance I’ve been able to sit down and actually read it. I’m also reading “How do Dinosaurs say Merry Christmas” to my kids. They love it.
3. How does your garden grow?
Literally it grows because my gardener takes care of it and also my lovely neighbor Louise who tends the roses and makes them bloom all year round. Metaphorically it grows because I have two amazing kids who keep me going and make me feel strong enough for anything.
4. What is the last thing you Googled?
I googled a map to get me to the House of Hearing Clinic Downtown in LA. I’m hard of hearing and had to get a test so I can get fitted for an old lady hearing aid.
5. What makes you cringe?
People who tell you in a booming voice, “Hey, I’m just saying what I think. That’s me and if you don’t like it” They’re usually just masking socially inept, inappropriate behavior and flattering themselves that it’s sincerity.
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