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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

This beautifully written story could be described as a gentle, loving horror story. The characters are rich and expressive, their experiences disastrous. The story describes a family Nuri, Afra and their son Sammi, who live in Aleppo, Syria. They love each other deeply and love their city. Nuri is very contented caring for bees with his close companion Mustafa. They care for their hives and always promote the wellbeing of the colony.

Then comes the war and the tragedy it brings to the people who lost loved ones and their city, which is destroyed. A loss of trust, faith and the ability to believe in a better future follows. To remain in Aleppo would mean certain death, but to go and leave your child’s body, is an agonising decision many had to make. No matter where in the world these people go, they have seen and experienced things that can never be forgotten.

Nuri and Afra eventually leave Syria, and try to find their way to England. Hardship becomes a way of life and merciless people an everyday experience. They arrive in Athens and begin the process of migrating to England; Then the waiting begins.

Christy Lefteri was in Athens as a volunteer, working in a refugee centre in 2016 and 2017. It was here she met many people and realised they all wanted their story told so the world would know what their families had been through, and what was happening in their country.

Listening to their stories, and seeing the children drawing the usual childlike scenes, but with dead and dying bodies, Christy realised that she wanted to relate their tragedies. So, the characters of Nuri and Afra were born from the many people she had helped and spoken with.

Although the factual news had been reported daily from Syria during the war, it does not prepare you for the shock of putting this in the context in a family’s life. The losses these people suffered, will live with them always, but to continue to live means they must move forward, and with support have a future.

Author Christy Lefteri
Publisher Bonnier/Zaffre
ISBN 9781785768934
Distributor Allen and Unwin
Released May 2019