The Murmur of Bees was a thoroughly enjoyable read from cover to cover. The beautiful, emotionally charged, lyrical prose of Sofía Segovia had me hooked from the start. This is a heart-warming tale about the vicissitudes of a landed Mexican family, which is set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Flu epidemic and Land Reform movement in Mexico in the period extending roughly from 1910 to the early 1930s. Narrated by an elderly storyteller, Francisco Junior, who looks back nostalgically on his whole life. In particular, he recounts his family history and his childhood born into the well-to-do Morales family in Linares, a small agrarian Mexican town. As he weaves the tale we are introduced to a colorful cast of characters, including family members, servants and farmhands. However, the focal point of the story, Simonopio, is a boy who was abandoned at birth due to a birth defect, and adopted into the Morales family. A peculiar feature of Simonopio is his unusually close relationship from birth with a swarm of bees, which brings him in communion with nature. As Simonopio grows up, his unique gifts are revealed, and later become integral to the gripping denouement of the story. My only extremely minor critique of The Murmur of Bees relates to the portrayal of the antagonist, Anselmo Espiricueta, as purely evil and the at times disorienting shift of the narrator’s perspective from the third to first person. I personally felt that the evilness of Anselmo Espiricueta, and the absence of his redeeming traits, was exaggerated beyond credibility, which made it too easy to despise him. In regards the narrator’s perspective, I found the switching between third and first person at times inconsistent. Yet overall, I would unequivocally recommend The Murmur of Bees to anyone looking for an entertaining read.
Have you read The Murmur of Bees or another of Sofía Segovia’s writings? Which of her books did you enjoy reading the most? And which of her books would you recommend for me to read next? Please feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in a comment below. Thanks as always for stopping by! Also, if you would like to receive more updates about my writing please consider joining my newsletter mailing list by subscribing below.