By: Sofia Segovia
I chose the Murmur of Bees for the 2019 Brown Dog Reading Challenge as my book in translation. This one came to my attention when Amazon did a promotion in which they offered a selection of translated books for free on my Kindle. I got several but I started with this one because it had such a pretty cover, but I am looking forward to reading several of the other ones.
The Murmur of Bees is a Mexican book set during the Mexican Revolution in 1918. The story is told from several points of view: Simonopio, who was found abandoned as a baby covered in bees who stay with him, being the most prominent, along with Francesco Jr. The son of a wealthy landowner, who takes Simonopio in like a son.
While Francesco Sr. is trying to keep his land from being legally stolen from the government, his family is trying to learn how to live a changing Mexico. The other voice we hear from is a disgruntled sharecropper who becomes very bitter at the loss of most of his family to a devastating flu.
To me, what made this most interesting in being a foreign novel is the perspective. A lot of American novels applaud the little guy and we all root for the underdog. In the Murmur of Bees, The rich landowner and his family are the heroes, while the poor sharecropper is an evil and vastly unlikeable character.
The book rambles a bit and takes a while, but I got more comfortable with skimming parts that we just descriptions of Simonopio following bees. It is worth the read if you are looking for something in a totally new perspective.