Does putting the word “bees” in your book’s title guarantee buzz? It seems to be working with these two 2013 debut novels, both of which have made it onto our radar here at BookPage.
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell (Harper) is set in a Scottish housing project, where two teenage sisters who’ve been let down by their parents decide not to mention that said parents have died . . . and been buried by the girls in the backyard. Darkly funny and a bit ribald, this novel received positive reviews upon its March UK release, and is hitting shelves here in January. O’Donnell is a Scot who now lives in LA (she’s a screenwriter).
Other than the shared title word, Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh (Putnam) sounds like it could not be more different from the O’Donnell story (for one, bees are not just a metaphor—they figure in the book’s plot). Compared to Remains of the Day, it’s a quiet tale of an elderly beekeeper who is looking back on his life after a close friend with whom he had a complicated relationship dies. Hesketh is an experienced journalist who teaches at UC Irvine.
Anyone else heard the buzz? Will you look out for these novels next year?