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The Death of Bees [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Lisa O'Donnell
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23. April 2013
Hazlehurst housing estate, Glasgow, Christmas Eve 2010. Fifteen-year-old Marnie and her little sister Nelly have just finished burying their parents in the back garden. Only Marnie and Nelly know how they got there. Lennie, the old guy next door, has taken a sudden interest in his two young neighbours and is keeping a close eye on them. He soon realises that the girls are all alone, and need his help -- or does he need theirs?

As the year ends and another begins, the sisters' friends, their neighbours, and the authorities -- not to mention the local drug dealer, who's been sniffing around for their father -- gradually start to ask questions. And as one lie leads to another, darker secrets about Marnie's family come to light, making things even more complicated.

Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, The Death of Bees is an enchanting and grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.

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  • Taschenbuch: 304 Seiten
  • Verlag: William Heinemann (23. April 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099558424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558422
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,6 x 12,8 x 2,2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 25.529 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

Lisa O'Donnell wurde mit dem Orange Screenwriting Prize für ihr Drehbuch >The Wedding Gift< ausgezeichnet. Sie lebt mit ihren zwei Kindern in Los Angeles. >Bienensterben< ist ihr erster Roman.



"This vibrantly imagined novel, by turns hilarious and appalling, is hard to resist." (Daily Mail)

"A black comedy, mixing The Ladykillers with Irvine Welsh's The Acid House...O'Donnell adeptly balances caustic humour and compassion." (Guardian)

"Compelling piece of work... O'Donnell brings a freshness to her narrative, thanks to the brilliantly evoked voices of her two young female protagonists.... Warm without being cosy, explicit without being shocking, and emotive without being schmaltzy, this is a powerful coming-of-age tale with a clear eye for the travails of 21st-century deprived living." (The Scotsman)

"The Death Of Bees is compelling stuff, engaging the emotions from the first page and quickly becoming almost impossible to put down." (Herald)

"A dark, fierce first novel that is a page-turner and a fairy tale turned inside out. I can't wait to read what she writes next." (Alice Hoffman New York Times)



An enchanting and grimly comic tale about love, loss, family and unlikely friendships

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5.0 von 5 Sternen ungewöhnliche Story 21. April 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ich hatte im TV die Buchbesprechung von Frau Westermann für die deutsche Ausgabe gesehen und habe es mir im Original bestellt.
Die drei Perspektiven sind äußerst lesenswert!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A very good read. 3. Januar 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I read the book very quickly and was very entertained. I liked how it was narrated and would recommend it.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  333 Rezensionen
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen In THE DEATH OF BEES, morbid humor borders on darkness of a total eclipse 8. Januar 2013
Von Bookreporter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In THE DEATH OF BEES, which is told in diary-like vignettes by straight-A student Marnie, her violin prodigy sister Nelly, and elderly neighbor Lennie, morbid humor borders on darkness of a total eclipse. Marnie conveys, "Today is Christmas Eve. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved."

The dead unwed parents are scurrilous drug dealer/user Gene and ditzy Izzy, a product of abuse and neglect who perpetuates the cycle on her teen daughters. Both are losers extraordinaire, and on the government dole, in Glasgow, Scotland. There's ambiguity as to who smothered Gene with Nelly's "pillow by his head and good golly Marnie had pushed it over his face." Or did she? Was Gene in Nelly's bed? And why did Izzy hang herself in the garden shed with a suspiciously soiled sheet? After all, Marnie mulls, "I should have stopped Gene when I had the chance. It never occurred to me he'd go after Nelly, we're so different."

Predictably, the girls' lies catch up with them, and they fear placement in foster care by the "social." They tell their "perv" neighbor that Gene and Izzy are in Turkey, but Lennie conjectures that the sisters are abandoned and takes them in, providing the only love they've ever known. Do the girls need him, or does he, in life's ebb, need them?

Much is told in Marnie's ribald vernacular (snog means kiss, tickety-boo is going well), countered by pubescent Nelly's aloof affectations from Bette Davis films. A "foible of Nelly's is how she talks. She sounds like the queen of England most of the time." And Lennie, an old chap who conceals a horrid deed from a criminal misstep, learns of what happened to Gene and Izzy and can be trusted to keep the siblings' secret...uh, buried.

Thickening the mix are Lennie's grave-digging dog, Bobby, and Izzy's abusive father, Robert T. Macdonald, who abandoned her, but has now found Jesus and seeks salvation through his granddaughters. Nelly, however, observes that Robert is "a raving lunatic with a penchant for whiskey (and no glass according to Marnie). He waited until she wasn't looking and slapped me."

Things seem dire when Mick and Vlado, Gene's mafia-like drug suppliers, come with guns looking for a sack of money Gene stashed just before he went to meet his maker in a climate much warmer than Glasgow's glum drear. Marnie and Nelly mature at warp speed, as tables turn like a tornado. For them justice is served sans legal process, and perhaps deserved normalcy awaits them at Lennie's loch-side cottage far from urban slums and deleterious government protectors.

Those who experienced neglect or abuse may find screenwriter Lisa O'Donnell's brilliant debut novel painful. Or perhaps learn from it how to bury the ghosts that have haunted them.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy
36 von 40 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Characters that get in your head 7. November 2012
Von Cathe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
When 15-year-old Marnie and 12-year-old Nellie's junkie parents die, the girls bury them in the backyard. They didn't want to leave their home and really they were used to being on their own. But with a nosy (albeit well-meaning) neighbor and a dog who is determined to dig, not to mention the drug lord to whom their dad owes money, how long will they be able to keep their secret.

I'm all about characters when it comes to books. I need to feel like I can see them and hear them and, of course, I need to care about them . . . and I definitely did in this book. And the characters were original. The voice of brilliant, tough, mixed-up Marnie . . . kept me turning the pages wanting to find out what was going to happen to her. I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend this book for older teens (sex, drugs, language) and adults.
20 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Enthralling and Thought-Provoking - A New Favorite 2. Januar 2013
Von Miss Bonnie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am 15. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved."

Launching right into the heart of the story, Marnie and Nelly bury their parents in the backyard after their father suffocates and their mothers hangs herself. With both parents gone the girls are left completely alone. Living in the slums of Glasgow, Scotland, Marnie makes a hasty decision to bury them both in the garden in order to avoid being placed into foster care. When Marnie turns 16 she can legally care for her sister so they just need to stay under the radar for one year. But between their curious but concerned neighbor and his inquisitive dog with a penchant for digging in their garden, a drug dealer their father owes money to, and a grandfather that wants to find his daughter their carefully constructed web of lies slowly begins to deteriorate.

Having lived with their parents misconduct their entire lives, finding their dead bodies didn't have the emotional impact that would be typical for most people. Marnie had already been taking care of her and her sister for years so not having their parents there really wasn't new. Except they were still there. Kind of. They were just in the garden now, buried under the lavender bushes.

It wasn't until later that I connected the dots and the references to the sexual abuse from their father. The author manages to indirectly reference the abuse both girls received from their father without going into unnecessary detail but I almost missed it entirely. The only indication given of this abuse was the lasting impacts both girls exhibit (i.e. Marnie's drinking and drug problems and lack of disregard for sleeping with married men and Nelly's ongoing night terrors.) Their experiences nevertheless created an unbreakable bond between the girls.

Throughout the story, the reference to people being 'monsters' for actions in their life that have inevitably gone on to define them. The elderly gay neighbor Lennie who takes it upon himself to care for the girls when they so desperately needed someone. But due to a past transgression that labeled him a sex offender he becomes identified as a monster. Marnie and Nelly's parents are more deserving of the label 'monster' because of the serious neglect of their children. The girls were forced to grow up at an extremely young age due to their parents terminal absence. Neither girl had anything close to a childhood and it was always a guessing game whether they would come home with groceries or drugs and booze. The children's grandfather that appears and suddenly wants to be a part of their life to make amends for past wrongs is also deserving of the title. But that's where the grey area develops: Do the girls actions make them monsters as well? Or is their behavior excusable because of everything they had already been through and what they were trying to avoid? The author doesn't provide any clear cut answer in determining who is right and who is wrong but it's safe to say that all characters are at fault in some way.

The style of writing and changes in point of view were brilliant. Each character had their own distinctive voice and their own important story. All points of view were told in first person but Lennie's was written almost as a letter or diary entries to his deceased lover, Joseph. Nelly is quite the eccentric 12 year-old that is a violin prodigy, has a fondness for old classic movies, and speaks as if, as Lennie put it, "like she swallowed a dictionary". Marnie, an extremely direct and to the point individual that carries a massive burden which she manages to somewhat hide. It's obvious that both girls lack necessary help, they just simply don't know where to look for it.

"What on earth is happening to the bees? They say it is an ecological disaster, an environment holocaust. Every day I wonder what the blazes can be causing this abuse of our ecosystem." -Nelly

The meaning behind the title eluded me for quite some time and I actually spent several hours pondering its significance. So this is what I came up with, but I could be completely off the mark, I have no idea but it really does seem to have a simple and straight forward meaning. As Nelly stated above, the death of bees is an ecological disaster and an environmental holocaust as bees play a major role and their deaths have a lasting effect. Even though their parents didn't play a major role in the girls lives, their deaths still managed to make a lasting impact on them.

'I fear death, I have always feared death. It comes like a gale and never with permission. I would meet it again today.'

'The Death of Bees' is gloomy, somber, and brutally realistic but darkly comedic as well. Enthralling and thought-provoking, you'll find yourselves racing to finish to find out these unforgettable girls' fate.
17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Completely engaging once the story took off 1. November 2012
Von Trudie Barreras - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
This is a book which, during the first twenty pages or so, I expected to very much dislike and have to write one of my rare negative reviews. It had far more gutter language than I thought necessary, and of course the initial description of Marnie and Nelly attempting to dispose of their parents' bodies and then clean up after it was utterly appalling and gruesome. However, once the basic plot premise was established, and the wonderful character Lennie was introduced, the story really took off, and I found myself completely engaged.

The book is an extremely fast read. For people who find themselves put off by lengthy narrative descriptions, this is precisely the type of story to delight. Many of the vignettes, as O'Donnell switches with lightning swiftness from one "voice" to another, occupy less than a full page, or at most two or three pages. Yet despite this rapid switching back and forth, somehow the author maintains a continuity of narrative that is remarkable.

If I have any criticism of this book, it is the fact that the peripheral characters, with the exception of Vlado, uniformly come off as pretty much non-entities and/or irredeemably evil. Although towards the end Izzy and Gene are perhaps perceived by Marnie as having at one point been young and in love, there is really no depth to that perception. And although a "happy ending" is provided in the last page, it is a little bit skimpy compared to the utter grimness of the events leading up to it.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Glasgow girls on their own -- with a little help from a friend 20. November 2012
Von D. Williams - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Marnie and Nellie are girls growing up in a housing unit in Glasgow. Marnie is fifteen; Nellie turns twelve during the course of this novel.

Marnie does well enough in school with little effort. She smokes, is promiscuous - not really a good example for her younger sister.

Nellie - well, were Nellie to meet with a psychologist or a doctor, she would probably be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. She is bright for her age, as shown in the vocabulary of the passages from her viewpoint. She must have things in a set way all the time (cornflakes and Coca Cola ONLY for breakfast!) and doesn't take well to change.

They find their parents, Gene and Izzy, dead under mysterious circumstances and bury them in the back yard. Was it a flat-out double murder for the drug money Gene and Izzy owed? Was it murder-suicide? Or did the girls kill their parents? This isn't really clear until the very end.

Marnie has made up her mind that since she is nearly sixteen and will then be legally an adult, she and Nellie will tell no one about what has happened. Neither girl wants the social workers to come calling and take them away from each other. They think they can manage, but they do appreciate any and all help a neighbor Lenny has to offer.

This novel is in each of the three voices - Marnie's, Nellie's, and Lenny's - with good distinction between the three. Readers will want to keep reading to find out what really happened to the girls' parents, how they will manage, and whether Lenny might become their official guardian - even after a grandfather steps into the scene.

Though there are harsh scenes in this novel, it kept my interest to see how these girls would turn out and what really did happen to their parents.
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