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Two lives meet; one young, one old, both facing what they consider the inevitable choice of their final moments alive; a last cigarette, a climb over the rails. Their eyes meet, their fates collide and out of the darkness of despair an unlikely friendship is formed; Vic, a man realising that life has little left for his final years, Sam, struggling to cope in a dysfunctional and abusive family, coming together to save each other.

Honeybee explores the depth of human pain, suffering and resilience with these two memorable characters as they both come to realise that with faith and friendship all things are achievable, but this does not come without pushing boundaries to the very edge as Sam explores his sexuality and Vic comes to realise that life can once again be filled with meaning.

Compassionate and rich in the telling Honeybee is based on a family experience where Silvey’s Brother and Sister-in-law came across a transgender teen standing on the other side of the bridge railing, an occurrence that stayed with Silvey and gave birth to further exploring the world of teens facing ‘dysphoria’.

Sam is fourteen and facing the fact that he is transgender in a family that considers it time for him to man-up, to be a bloke; alcoholism and violence form the background of his days, a world where kindness is non-existent.  When he meets Aggie, Vic’s neighbour and Peter he begins to understand there are choices to be made about how he lives his life and while he does not always choose the right pathway, he feels accepted for the first time for he who is, not Sam but Victoria.

Throughout the story filled with a myriad of often hair raising events, a gloriously unforgettable night at a drag show, Victoria’s mother is a tether to a past best forgotten or at least left behind, but acts as a silent witness to the devastation that can be caused in young lives by dependent and troubled parents.

Moving, emotional, funny and wry at times the heartbeat of Honeybee is resilience, courage and strength while shining a light on the very real issues of sexuality, mental health and compassion. Easy to read in one sense and yet confrontational in another, Honeybee is a novel of our times and one to be remembered long after the heart wrenching final page is read.


Author Craig Silvey
Publisher Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760877224
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released September 2020