These things are unusual, even after 50 years. With so-called normal symphony orchestras, sometimes I refuse to have this piece in the program, because it takes too much rehearsal. Though the piece is more about "colors" than notes, "Volumina" is made remarkably anxious thanks to its long passages of dissonance and a duration that hovers somewhere north or south of the minute mark. Clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, Jim Morrison's epic "The End" is a bad trip that builds up to an insane, surprising end. The psychedelic rock epic has widely been interpreted as a goodbye to childhood innocence, and Morrison has said as much in interviews.
It begins calmly, with the singer bidding adieu to his only friend, the end, before taking a lyrical tailspin into wilder verses, begging the listener to "ride the snake" and "ride the highway west. They were fired the next day. The psychedelia of the Sixties translated its share of horrific fantasies into swirls of ominous sound, echoes of bad trips that spelunked into the listener's wormy subconscious.
At the start, Richard Wright's organ diddles and Nick Mason's cymbals flutter, with soft, distant moans foreshadowing doom. Then the title is whispered and before the danger it suggests has a chance to register, Roger Waters screams repeatedly with horrific derangement. David Gilmour's guitar whips up a frenzy in response, but soon the music returns to the hushed, eerie lull that proceeded the violent interlude.
Something dreadful has happened, and we're left to imagine it. One-hit wonders Bloodrock improbably scored a Top 40 hit with a gruesome, eight-and-a-half minute, first-person account of dying. The hard rockers' music resembles a British ambulance siren and the lyrics describe the gory aftermath of a plane crash as a man is tended to by an EMT. He feels "something warm flowing down [his] fingers," he tries to move his arm but when he looks he sees "there's nothing there. No wonder gloom-rock poet laureate Nick Cave has been covering the song for more than 30 years. Shock rock's greatest act could add any number of songs to a list of truly frightening songs — "Dead Babies" about child neglect , "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" an insider's view of going mad , "Sick Things" sick things — but it's one of Alice Cooper's at least three!
In a Rolling Stone interview , Alice Cooper shrugged off the tune's shock value. If I cut my arm off and ate it, OK, that would be shocking. But you can only do it twice. The lyrics were directly sourced and spliced from a written testament by artist Blaster Al Ackerman — who served as a medic in Vietnam, and later in a burn victim unit at a hospital, where he cared for a woman who was scorched from her waist to her face.
The song was cowritten by Cave and his then-girlfriend Anita Lane, interpolating tonal elements of American Southern Gothic into roiling, cartoonish art-rock. Although the band fell apart just a year later, the Birthday Party influenced gothic rock by incorporating disparate strands of blues and rockabilly to eerie effect. Just another Springsteen song about a boy and a car and a girl. Bruce had given a voice to desperate souls before, but those were usually good people fallen on hard times.
Although Metallica were underground trendsetters for the early half of the Eighties, they broke into mainstream consciousness in with "One," a single about a quadriplegic solider asking to die. He eventually headbangs Morse code on his pillow, asking his doctors to kill him. For Metallica, that story — set against machine-gun thrash riffs for nearly eight minutes — made for an unlikely Top 40 hit, an unforgettable music video using footage from the movie and a Grammy win.
A tale told by a bog witch of the highest order. In the lead single from her album, To Bring You My Love , Polly Jean Harvey transforms into a beguiling, filicidal mother from a swampy underworld, beckoning her daughter back from the river she drowned in. The music video sees Harvey undulating to a sinister cha-cha rhythm and thrashing underwater in a red satin dress: She genuinely struggled to come up to the surface, she told Spin , thanks to the weight of her hefty black wig. The low drone that opens Scott Walker's track "Farmer In The City" only hints at the plainly laid out horror that's going to come.
The pop idol turned experimental miserablist has the sort of voice that can't be described using simple terms like "haunting" or "funereal" — he has a precisely calibrated moan with a vibrato, and the pitch-black music he's released in the past two decades has used his voice, and his bleak outlook, to arresting effect. Over a tense, spare arrangement by the Sinfonia of London, Walker wails his abstract interpretation of the Italian film director and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini's final thoughts he was murdered in Nearly every Nick Cave song is scary; few artists have dedicated themselves to the grim and macabre like the Australian Bad Seeds leader.
In the mid Nineties he tasked himself with writing and recording the self-explanatory album Murder Ballads , whose songs claimed the lives of dozens upon dozens of hapless fictional victims. This dramatic monologue from a nosy neighbor is set to a palette of eerie sound effects — subdued metallic clangs, low-rent electronic flutters — that would be the envy of any haunted house designer. Always a creepy dude not for nothing did Francis Ford Coppola cast him as the bug-gobbling Renfield in his take on Dracula , Tom Waits wheezes here like he's shining a flashlight underneath his chin to spook an edgy campfire scout troop.
In fact, they way he repeatedly intones, "What's he building in there? At least until the unsettling coda, where we hear the whistling from the home of the eccentric builder for ourselves. Eminem's revenge fantasia "'97 Bonnie And Clyde" was an upbeat yet horrifying track where the bleached-blonde MC detailed a father-daughter trip to the beach, with some hints that "Mama," in the trunk, wasn't exactly along for the ride willingly.
Tori Amos's reinvention for her covers album Strange Little Girls ups the American-gothic quotient with horror-movie strings, dimestore-synth beats, and a flip of the song's perspective — her strangled delivery and parental tenderness make the monologue sound as if it's coming from the victim as the life is being bled right out of her. Little Bee. What a fantastic read. With each page, there was a new story. My depiction of the ending was that Little Bee joined the children on the beach and waded into the water and never came back.
Chris, Thank you for writing this stunning novel. Your style of writing is very appealing to me. I was drawn into the story from sentence one and mesmerized through to the final word. Even though I say to myself and my husband and son, both avid readers that it was so depressing, I could not put it down.
I was compelled to read it and think it and feel it. I was educated and entertained and I felt — deeply. Yes, the ending was very unsettling for me on the one hand I need closure! Hi Chris, What a wonderful read. We are discussing this book this Friday night at our reading group.
I, myself, never wanted to put the book down. I live in the United States and love reading about other countries. I loved the two narrators too. It kept me interested the entire way through. I am a 42 year old mother of 3, and my oldest never took off his power ranger costume as a kid, so I really related to Charlie! I love the question you asked about if you liked Sarah or not. I immediately disliked the way she cheated, which made me dislike her.
While she was completely selfish of the flesh, she was also selfless in the heart by saving Little Bee. I found myself torn as to liking Sarah or not. As far as Little Bee. I loved her sense of humor and survival and her edginess. She had far less fear then Sarah. Two totally different cultures and characters, yet so much respect for each others lives.
Amy in Maryland. I am visiting cold snowy Alberta, Canada and the intro of inside cover certainly intrigued me to buy this book Chris… very clever. But i was not prepared for the intense beauty and soaring emotions i would feel whilst reading it… It made me feel shame and anger to be British..
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It helped me on many levels…to understand the refugees plight when I live with racist and prejudiced parents and Canadian husband even! I have brought my own from former marriage three kids up as open minded as I can-as Sarah tries with Charlie. I wanted to take Little Bee into my home forever- her joy at the summer dress… on eating the bird seeds… there are so many moments that will stay with me… You are a master at entwining the characters lives within our own psyche. To know that Little Bee was free in her mind and had laid her sister to rest was so beautiful and brave- I will be seeking out your other novels and lending this one, respectfully to a chosen few.
Thankyou Chris. As a Westerner, I live a privileged life. I am acutely aware of that. The forces which swept up Sarah and Little Bee are now an even more visible part of my world, and I know I will be seeing and thinking of them often as I go about my daily life. The importance of a personal integrity, of compassion for oneself and others, of the consequences of choice and chance! And that soft green glow of hope. Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives and your words with the rest of us.
Hi Sharon — many thanks for your kind words. I loved Little Bee and truly thought she would meet Sarah and become her nanny or housekeeper, never expecting what followed. I am not so naive as not to think, the worst is about to happen. I am sad for her. Was this at all based on a true experience. Our daughter, Dr. Valerie Weiss is a writer and Director in Hollywood.
It has been in over thirty film festivals. Chris, I picked up The Other Hand by pure chance when I was buying a John Grisham novel something of a guilty pleasure and the shop I was in was running a buy one get one free offer on books. Keep up the good work. I just heard about The Other Hand through my book club and googled it.
The first chapter has me hooked. I LOVE your writing style…am off to buy the book right now….. I picked up your book from a friend in Australia and could not for the life of me put it down. I think we can become lazy and self-consumed and I want to make sure my decisions can be as well-informed as they can be. As I read, I would call friends and tell them to buy Little Bee.. Hope they do or they will be missing this powerful story.
Thank you introducing the world to Little Bee. I thought the book was very moving and extremely well written, but I, too, am disappointed at the end. I just finished it. I yearn for some kind of resolution, especially a more positive one. We all enjoyed the book very much and had good discussion. Luckily my children 26year and 29years old could participate in the discussion.
My son had read the book in hs Business school and highly recommended me to read. There was a doubt in the group If Sarah english or american? Could you respond please. What crime did Little Bee do and her life is in danger in Nigeria, then why Sarah could not adopt her in a more legal way to save all the agony.
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I liked the title Little Bee, because I feel bee is tiny and stings hard at the same time gives sweet honey what most people love. Her stinging answers to Lawrence exhibits the title name. Looking forward to read more of your books and best wishes. Thank you for a wonderful piece of fiction based on the horrors of society but told in such a way as to be entertaining.
The dual narration by Little Bee and Sarah was perfect. While I was not really pleased by the ending, I now realize that it was the best way to do it; it allows me and all readers to think for ourselves. Of course, I know that Little Bee will survive and thrive. How excited we all were to have an author of a renowned book that we had read as our guest. The book was wonderful, and your answers about how it developed were just as wonderful. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. I throughly enjoyed Little Bee; the switch back and forth on the point of view is an interesting way to read a story.
It started slow, not defining the purpose of her musings, then the story picked up and charged forward. So damn right. There is a Lawrence in all of us. Thank you for writing this book. Just finished Little Bee. Our library book club will be discussing it next week, in Cheney, Washington. I am grateful that the group chose your book. It was entertaining to read, and also educational. I learned a lot about Africa while there, but learned even more just by reading your well-researched novel.
It is difficult to identify with people from third world countries, living our relatively safe American lives. But reading Little Bee was helpful and informative. Thank you for writing it. I have just finished reading Little Bee. Thank you for your magnetic and moving story. Your writing has the ability to entertain while elevating the reader to consider the cold and frightening realities of a world torn and distorted by greed.
We can all easily be a positive force of kindness and tolerance, and share what peace and comfort we can each offer to those struggling in this often cruel world. Just a kind word, or a generous gesture can make a world of difference to a fellow soul. Thanks for a great read!
It did not define hope or failure. Sarah and Bee were both very strong characters and I felt that they would accomplish what they set out to do and that was to set Bee free but was she. I do not know. The hand of the soldier was on her arm so I think she was led away to captivity. What a shame. Does this level of torture happen to people in Nigeria?
What made those men such horrible people to do that to a young girl? Why torture her? Anyway, otherwise it was a great read, thanks for opening all our lazy western eyes to the plights of refugees! I ordered your book months ago and it sat on my nightstand. I could not put the book down and finished it in two days. It was intriguing and your writing is beautiful and very descriptive. I felt that I knew the characters and understood where they were coming from. I was impressed with your surprises throughout the book, never would have guessed some of it.
I want to read it and know. I feel as if you took such care to slowly take your reader on this path and then you abruptly ended it… I do not like to read books with this kind of ending. Why did you end it this way? I am very disappointed. Oh my. I cannot even begin to imagine either of their lives.
My Book Club of 33 years is reading this and I am the discussion leader this Friday. There is so much to talk about in this story and then I want to do research on Nigeria and the refugee reality. Where do I begin? As I continue to prepare for Friday, Little Bee is hauntingly before me on the beach…. Just finished Little Bee and I loved it! I am going to recommend it to all of my friends. Also, I will have my wife read it, which means that I will have to let her have my iPad to read it on, which is rare that I let someone else have it.
In terms of technique I loved the two very distinct voices of the women in the story. I loved and will now buy your other books; digital editions, after my wife is done with my IPad, of course. Little Bee is such a profound read. Chris-you do an excellent job of exposing elements of mass rape and genocide that plague countries in Africa. We need more exposure to those issues in an entertaining, clever, amusing, poignant way like you do. I have wrestled with the ending in my mind for days after finishing the book. I love the descriptions of Charlie and the Nigerian children together—how their innocence allow them to embrace each other.
I think Chris provides hope for the future through these children, as well as showing that we are all human beings. As far as Little Bee, I believe that Sarah will do whatever it takes to give her freedom and eventually she will return to England with her family—Charlie, Little Bee, and her. I also think that Sarah will use her journalism position and skills to publish the stories she has collected to expose the horrific events in Nigeria. I have spent time in both Lagos and Abuja. Growing up there, I have so many vivid memories of many frightening situations and although did not experience,first hand, the beach atrocities you describe they seem so familiar.
Many bad events happened on the beaches in Lagos. I identified with Sarah. I felt the anguish of poor Andrew. What an incredible job you did…. I loved the ending, although I yearned for a happier one. Cleave, Hi! I will tell all everyone how good it is and get them to read it too. Thank you again and God Bless you. Being a dutchy and living in the south of Spain I found your book in an English charity shop and I am sooooo happy that I picked it up.
First of all I really like your style of writing and I will certainly read your other books. I have the feeling that many never thought about that. Thank you for this book and I wish you all the best. I bought your book last saturday and finished reading it sunday morning. The story captured me because of the way you have described the life of certain people in Nigeria in a very detailed and penetrative manner. I do travel to Nigeria mostly to Lagos, Abuja and Abeokuta frequently since Around this time there was a cruel military government ruling.
During reading, I remembered vividly how it was back then. Even though nothing bad ever happened to me personally, I have seen soldiers as you have characterized. While in the most violent military actions happened in the Delta region, the south of the country, where I have been at that time, remained peaceful.
Then, I did not know about the violence. It needs books like yours to keep telling what happens in Nigeria until today! Bought Little Bee in the Las Vegas airport last night and began reading it as I left the most fake city on earth. This story is gut wrenching reality told in excruciatingly beautiful prose. I could not put it down and was compelled to visit your site to find out more. I love the idea that scars do not form unless we are alive.
This is a haunting life story. I absolutely love your books and I wish there were more writters out there who are willing to write books in the way you do. I found Little Bee both entertaining and educational, and this is how I think novels should be. I really look forward to reading your future works. I absolutely loved Little Bee. Totally gripping. The torture and inhumane treatment by the soldiers made me mad, upset and sick to my stomach but the realization that this actually takes place in some countries opened my eyes.
I live in USA and we take so many things for granted here. Thanks for writing this awesome awesome book. Thank you for such an amazing story. I sometimes work with refugees in my job in Vermont. Some of them have waited many years in refugee camps in countries neighboring theirs before coming to the U. Their stories are the most important thing they have because the story is what substantiates their need for refuge. I just finished reading Little Bee after a somewhat interrupted reading. I put it down for a few weeks when the ending approached me. I had to take a break to prepare my self for what was coming.
I loved this book, but what I loved the most was your suprising ability to portray a young girl of a different cultural background so convincingly. You were able to make her come to life believably and authentically. I look forward to reading everything you have or ever will write.
It is melodramatic. Man bad. Cowardly, despicable bad. I mean, imagine the roles reversed, gunman demands woman chop her finger off, woman refuses, man does it, calls woman a shit. Her affair partner is a male mistress a mister?! There you go again — woman worthwhile, man not. It normalises adultery, encourages it even. I just finished Little Bee, and I feel betrayed. The book starts with a captivating chapter inviting the reader to see something they have never seen before. But in the middle of the book, one discovers the extramarital affair that Sarah has with a truly unremarkable person.
Then, Little Bee dies in the end. There is no hope, only a well written, but very dark story. Why did the author put Sarah on the plane an unexpected rescue only to have Little Bee finally caught by the soldiers from whom she had escaped years ago? If the reason was to expose the tragedy in Nigeria, it also provided no hope of solution. So, what good does the education do us since it also supports the hopelessness of personal courage against such a tragedy. The book took a few dark turns in the middle, and never emerged. No hope. I will follow this advice, but simply urge everyone not to read it, because the entire story is only depressing.
I listened to the audio version CD of Little Bee. I loved the way the book was performed. I did miss something and hope someone can answer this for me. Why was Little Bee with Andrew when he committed suicide? What did she tell Sarah about the event? Thank you. I just finished Little Bee, after starting it yesterday.
It was truly engrossing, entertaining, and at times, excrutiating. My daughter asked me this morning if I thought she would enjoy reading it, and when I hesitated, she asked why. I told her that it was a great book, but I was very unhappy with the ending. I wanted to know exactly what happened to Little Bee. They have already shot at Charlie.
They would not hesitate to shoot Udo if she should run. She could swim out to sea until she drowns. Dear Chris, I just finished reading Little Bee last night, and like many other readers it has left a deep impression on me. I think you did a brilliant job of bringing her to life. I suppose I empathized with her constantly changing emotions and perceptions as her life swirled around her. But I really wanted to share something in response to your statement in the answer to the first question above, where you talk about your last name being the only word that has two synonyms that are antonyms of each other.
Love your writing, love your word-images the clear bag and the yellow sari girl …please continue!!! I think it was one of the best books I have read and admire how much research must have gone into producing it. I can not fathom how much time and effort must have been put in to making sure that the storyline and characters could become realistic and really touch the reader as it has done for me.
It really is an inspirational book. It took me three days to read this incredible novel! I could not put it down. I was not aware of the oil conflict in Nigeria. I liken it to the language of sleep, where your emotions live, but no sound is heard by your ears, only by your eyes and your soul. Both see, hear and feel. To me, the book intertwines the language of love and acceptance, crafted wisely and technically.
I just finished your book and cannot say enough in praise of it. I tend to have an intuitive feel for where a novel is going but you kept surprising me over and over. Am also deeply touched by the soulfulness of this story and the characters of Little Bee, Sarah and Charlie. Looking forward to reading more of your work. Michelle Rahm. I am not so familiar with British writers but thankfully accept suggestions from some of our national newspapers. I compliment both your writing and your willingness to be so honest! Kudos and best wishes! Helen Houghton. The line about scars being beautiful keeps coming back to my mind, even weeks after I finished reading Little Bee.
In addition to being a wonderful read, it made me think more deeply about immigration. I live in the U. They were taken to what used to be a cattle confinement and held there pending trial. It was horrifying. I believe we need limits on immigration, but there has to be a better way of dealing with it. I can hardly put it down.
Quick question, though. In chapter two, where Sarah met the two police officers in her workplace, it was around AM, and she had texted Andrew earlier. Apologies for asking such a trivial issue, I just found this discrepancy a bit puzzling. Or are mobile networks in Britain really that bad…! I thought she was taken into custoday and would be killed for what she witnessed. It was sad for me. A group of my classmates and I read and discussed it as part of a Literature Circle project.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It was compelling and it captivated my attention from beginning to end. My group members found it equally intriguing as well. One aspect of the novel we found interesting was how it was written using the first person narrative of two different characters.
It was very refreshing to read the story from such diverse perspectives. Having two people tell the story allowed us to piece the information together, bit by bit, which added to the suspense of finding out what happened on the beach. It seemed to be kind of a cliffhanger, and there was some confusion as to what actually happens to Little Bee. Does she die? Do the soldiers take her away? If so, where do they take her? Personally, I thought the soldiers just took her back into custody, which leads me to another question.
Why are they coming after Little Bee if she is back in her home country? Are they really still chasing her because of what she witnessed a few years back? If you get the chance, we would love to hear back from you! I often read the comments of critics and the first page of the book. It sounded like my type of story, so I borrowed a copy from the local library.
Such smooth transitions into each Chapter and event. I noticed the very slight mark of foundation left on the windowpane where her forehead had been. Hello, I finished reading Little Bee about five minutes ago. I loved it and I loved Odu. I have my own ideas about the ending and I am not asking for an answer, I know that literature can always be interpreted differently , but I would just like your opinion on what happens at the ending.
What do you believe becomes of Odu? The best part of this book is the emotional rawness and reality in the characters and their speech. I am part of a book club and it is my next pick for the group to read.
Your book highlights a very important issue, my sister is a refugee lawyer in the uk so I know a little bit about the issue but your book helped me to learn more and inspired me to do further research and take some action not sure what yet! Chris My bookclub meets next Monday, March 28 and I am presenting the report.. I would like to know an approximate date of the events in Little Bee and what is going on in Nigeria at that time.. Chris, I read because I love stories. You leave way too much for the reader to speculate. Is this a story of hope or despair? You say you want to leave it up to the reader to finish the tale, well I am completely and utterly perplexed.
I think you got lazy, sorry. Dear Chris, What a beautifully written story. Your rhythm is perfect and I wonder how on earth you do it. Little Bee is so smart and funny too although very dark humor. I read the ending twice looking for hope and found it only in the heart of Little Bee. Hi Chris I am not much of a reader but just finished Little Bee a few hours ago, while my double oven was being installed in my home.
The men completely ruined and scratched up my cabinets. Normally I would be outraged and vocally loud about it. When I told friend and fellow book club reader of LB what had happend, she said I seemed so mellow, out of character in my voice. How could anyone get angry about anything after reading about this beautiful girls life. Thank you for the perfectly timed gift of perspective.
I have read it twice, and love the choices you have made re the major themes in the book. Individual decisions and choices, integrity, the human condition, personal and global concepts, victim vs survivor, determination, triumph of the human spirit, and identity to name a few. Thank you for this book of major substance, one that gives the reader so very much to think about! It was sad and surprisising and shocking and happy all at the same time. Will you write another book about Little Bee and continue her story as she grows up, or did she die?
I totally loved it. No one should have to go through these inhumane experiences to build ones character, but you captured the essence of our will as a people to find the joy and love in all these and especially in each other. We are a flawed people but we are doing better when we know better. Thank you for educating all of us in the struggles people go through to find safety in another Country. I finished reading Little Bee a month ago. You are really smart and very creative Chris, you can make this work. I picked up this book in an airport and could not put it down! I mainly wanted to compliment you on how incredibly well written this is.
So many times I would stop to read a sentence a second time, amazed at how brilliant the writing was! I will be going out to purchase your other two books! Why did you decide to to write from the perspective of the two women? Also, what difficulties did you face as you explored the issues of morality from a female point of view? Was it easier or more difficult to rationalize their moral decisions as you wrote from a gender different from your own? I too have just finished reading The Other Hand and cannot believe you are commenting on this. This is a memorable book for all the right reasons.
My one complaint is the filthy language. You are a talented writer. Out of a dirty mind comes dirty language! Hi Mary, thanks for reading the book. By making this point I hope to elucidate for you the distinction between coarseness and vulgarity. I teach secondary school English and my year 13 A-level students are about to start their final unit, a comparative study. The students have the option of what text to compare and contrast with it and I was wondering if you had any thoughts about what novels would be a good match? Any that you feel explore the same issues, use the same narrative techniques, have similar genres and so on?
I join your audience—Bravo. Of course it had to leave me there, wondering about Udo. The asylum question remains that. Thank you for raising my awareness. Mary kay Ring. I know one of the big discussion quesstions will be the ending. Did they kill our beloved Little Bee or was she spared because of her friendship with Norah and the investigative work? Is there going tro be another novel to answer that question? Also is a move possible? I do voluntary work with a charity that helps asylum-seekers and I get so frustrated with the negative attitudes about them, which seem to be so prevalent, and also with the inhumane workings of the asylum system itself.
It was therefore wonderful to read your novel which showed the realities in such an interesting readable way, which must hopefully have touched so many people and changed their perceptions. Incidentally, I feel that those who ask you what happened to Little Bee afterwards are missing the point. Thanks again for writing your excellent book. Do you know when your next one will be published?
Hello from Israel. I do not use Twitter nor Facebook somehow my privacy is more important to me than being social. I stumbled upon your book accidentally at our library. I never heard about it before. I must admit I felt deeply ashamed, at times, while reading the book. I had no idea. We have thousands of refugees trying to enter Israel every month but its always just a newspaper item.
Suddenly I saw the faces behind the news. I admire your writing, the human way you described the events, the mirror it put in front of my face. I think your book should be read by policy-makers around the world. Thank you for enabling me a wider perspective, and in-spite of a terrible sadness such exceptional reading. I think this is much better than my idea!
Hi Trish — thanks for your kind comments. I guess the analogy would be with stop-frame animation — you have to do weeks of painstaking work to produce ten seconds of footage that is convincing. I just work consistently at the task until the voices start to ring true. Hello again, Chris!
What are the chances? I would really love to attend an instore event to see you speak and possibly get a book signed in person. Will there be any other East Coast events around the CT one? Please let me know! Jessica Martin. I will post it on my website as soon as I have it, and it would be great to meet you at one of the events if you can make it. Hi from Montreal. We just had our book club meeting and we all loved the book for different reasons. I loved how wise Little Bee was. Our question is does Little Bee die at the end? I thought she did but most of the group said no she went off with the soldiers.
Is it up to the reader to decide? I do not remember crying so much while and after reading a book. Your characters are so real, none flawless…and Little Bee is definitely a poet…I am so in love with her…how could Sarah not adopt her? What a silly question… It hurts my heart to know that all of what you discuss is so horrifyingly real. The laws, the indifference, the horror of what some people can perpetrate against other innocent people, the unspeakable tortures against women.
And we sit in our confortable houses, ride our confortable cars, and are so blindly unaware of the suffering of others, nor do we want to be bothered. That is what breaks my heart. Chris, are there any organizations that you know of that help in any way? Is there anything I could do? Is there any way to really adopt some of these children, or help families? I would like to get involved. Little Bee will always live in my heart. I would like to hear what Nigerian refugees have to say.
Lacking that can we have reactions from South Africa. I can imagine writing in a male voice and even in writting in the voices of historical figures in my culture. Diaries and other written material could inform my voice. However short of hearing what the refugees say in their own communities, I doubt that I would credit my projection into their space.
Another thought for all you mothers out there. Would anyone of us have taken our child to the Beach? What happened to the couple who took in the 4 refugees immediately after they left the detention camp? I kept thinking they risked themselves to help these women and when one committed suicide the farmer and his wife would probably be arrested for helping them.
It seemed that no good deed goes unpunished. Yet, there was no consequence to Sarah, who is morally flawed , for helping Little Bee. She was even permitted to leave the county with her. A haunting read — certainly not one to be forgotten. It will take awhile for the lessons of this novel to sink in and the cold, tight cord around my heart to ease a bit. Do not believe that it will ever quite thaw! The world is harsh and the realities of that harshness stand out even in the various yellow sunshine washes evoked during the telling of this novel.
I felt it was a very powerful story, it really opens ones eyes to the many tragic things that go on in this world. I look forward to the movie. I also see by your blog that you are a cyclist. We are all cyclists that love to read as well. Thanks again for creating such a great read. Happy writing and pedaling!
Chris—A truly profound read. And many thanks for a website with so much to offer the curious reader. Thank you for an illuminating story. Did she? We were all moved by your work and did talk about what each of us could do to alleviate even a particle of the heartache and suffering we see. I was wondering, is there a reason on why you used hanging in your novel twice? Once with Andrew and again with the girl at the detention center? What was the connection for the hanging? Did you use it as a metaphor?
Overall, it was an amazing novel. I hope we can see a movie as well! Just wanted to say thanks for such a powerful and gripping novel. You got the voices spot on — every character memorable, every scene gripping — and maybe the end is just right too, because this refugee problem goes on and on, year in year out, some endings better, some worse and no way of knowing which. I think our private powerlessness comes over pretty strongly too — how come the government simply refuses to find the will to stop this abuse of asylum seekers?
So, a many layered story and much to ponder. Thanks again. Great work. Very gripping, thrillerishly surprising, moving, informative, challenging.
American Life Remembered: Kenton Nelson's Comfort Art
I volunteer with refugees locally www. Your novel will make a great case study to investigate how representations of refugees travel across cultural borders. Not least: how is it going down in Nigeria, elsewhere in Africa? The publishing industry is very volatile, so from time-to-time one of the publishers will go out of business suddenly, which can be a problem. In answer to your second question, as far as I know the only place on the African continent where my books are sold in any number is South Africa.
I have a full spectrum of feedback from readers in that community, ranging from very appreciative to very angry — which is the same range of responses I get from most reading communities, I guess. Hi Chris. What a great book!
LITTLE BEE author Q&A – Chris Cleave
Having suddenly realised I had forgotten to bring some reading material with me I nipped down to the local media shop and found they had a small English section. Congrats to your editor on that one — it hooked me! So I left the shop with your book and the latest Ben Elton. It really captured the way we feel about the plight of asylum-seekers. Even the most tolerant amongst us just feel powerless to help them.
The truth? There was so much to the character of Little Bee, more than her status as an asylum seeker, such wisdom and understanding of the world. As an optimist, I choose a happy ending, the one I want for all asylum-seekers. So thanks for the great read. On a final note, I found it a weird coincidence that both books I bought that day had references to U2 in them. Lovely, lovely writing throughout the novel. Trying to carry the plot lines through. Thanks Betsy. I like the image of me as a workshy carpenter, wandering off the job before it was finished.
We often take for granted the blessings of being born in a safe country to parents who will not be yanked away from us. I hope you write a joyful, grateful book next for your own sake and mine. I much enjoyed your presence and talk at the recent Literary Sojourn in Steamboat.
Thank you for joining hearts with us. Deb Cheyenne, WY. Thank you Deb — I very much enjoyed Steamboat Springs — one of the best literary festivals in the world. Thank you for the reply Chris: having your own words and not merely assumptions and abstract interpretations will help enormously in my study of the text. I think that your ultimate goal, to write yourself out of the picture entirely, is surely the best means by which to explore questions of ethics; it must allow your writing to go forth in directions you perhaps never envisioned when beginning any given novel.
I must finally add that, for me anyway, your writing is indeed socially useful and most certainly provides a means of looking at, although it may sound simplistic, the contemporary human condition in a truly beautiful way. Good luck with your future writing and thank you again. I find that the dichotomy in the narration of the novel, and the lack of omniscience, allows for a shift from the sort of grand narratives of earlier literature to localised narratives, which in a sense allows for a deeper, more meaningful, and generally more emotional connection with the characters and their individual experiences.
I wondered how representational you find Little Bee of refugees, or indeed how representational Sarah is of the majority of us living in our Western bubble? I must end in saying it is a truly beautiful piece of writing, which I think contains so much more than even you could have intended. To your second question about authorial intent and social obligation, I must admit I can no longer separate what I originally intended from how I now interpret the book. I think they are tentatively anchored in real histories, but only tentatively. I tend to see them as abstracted artistic entities that I can use to produce real feelings in the reader.
I think my ultimate goal is to write my own self out of the picture entirely. Cleave, Thank you for writing this moving and excellent story. Hi Emily — thank you! Hope book group goes well. Boswell Books is one of my all-time favourite book stores. I had a great visit in Milwaukee — everyone was so friendly.
Here is a video I made there last year. Is Daniel Goldin still running the show there? Please say hi from me! It is the first book in a long time that I have read in one day so thank you for that. I also wanted to give a thumbs up for your nod to Maurice Sendack in the nursery scene where Charlie melts down over his lost father. Thank you Euan. I agree with you about Sendack. Max is an incredible character. Chris, is there any way you could give me your thoughts on what happened to little Bee in the end?
Last time I was in Berlin I visited Checkpoint Charlie and it was intresting to read everything and see everything at The escape museum. Next time Im also going to visit Sachenhausen, which is outside Berlin and is an old concentration camp aswell as the russians used it after WW2 for their prisoners. Hi Chris, I came across your book by accident really and so glad I did. What an excellent read! Any plans in the pipeline for a film adaptation, here in the UK?
So many layers. Little Bee will remain with all who read this book for many years to come. Having a son who, when 4 or so, spent months as Robin Hood made me adore Charlie. Thank you for writing one of the great books of our time. Thank you Chris Cleave, for opening my eyes to this buried secret, and for giving me a reason to be thankful today and every day for my freedom and my voice!!
Last night my book discussion group discussed Little Bee. It was interesting to see what some members of the group picked up on that others did not because so much detail was mixed in with the tragedy it was hard to focus on everything. One person distinctly remembered the men on the beach drinking from a bottle and Sarah noticing what appeared to be an eye floating in that bottle. A few people remembered this detail when it was brought up. What was in the bottle? And why put the bottle in the narrative?
Was it one more level of horror added to what was becoming a horrific situation? Chris- you truly connected in your presentation of this lovely, sensitive lady. Little Bee went off the mark several times-but I forgive you. What to I do with this knowledge? I wish I had never read it. I wanted a happy ending : , but thank you for a beautiful and bittersweet ending. Re: men and women.
Lambert; 8 Page s. Virtually all female mammals, from rats to monkeys to humans, undergo fundamental behavioral changes during pregnancy and motherhood.
What was once a largely self-directed organism devoted to its own needs and survival becomes one focused on the care and well-being of its offspring. Although scientists have long observed and marveled at this transition, only now are they beginning to understand what causes it. New research indicates that the dramatic hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, birth and lactation may remodel the female brain, increasing the size of neurons in some regions and producing structural changes in others.
Some of these sites are involved in regulating maternal behaviors such as building nests, grooming young and protecting them from predators. Other affected regions, though, control memory, learning, and responses to fear and stress. Recent experiments have shown that mother rats outperform virgins in navigating mazes and capturing prey. What is more, the cognitive benefits appear to be long-lasting, persisting until the mother rats enter old age. I just finished listening to the CD—I loved it too—the story and the acting. The voices really made it come alive for me; this was a great listen.
Will be recommending it to my bookclub too, but I have a funny feeling, there will be others who will also recommend it! As for the ending, I really want something good for Little Bee, and being an optimist, will go with that approach to it.