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Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave
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Little Bee: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Chris Cleave

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5,812427729 (3.76)315
Member:tamarajp
Title:Little Bee: A Novel
Authors:Chris Cleave
Info:Simon & Schuster (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

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    dsc73277: "Hearts and Minds" and "Little Bee" have been two of the most compelling books I have read this year. Both deal sympathetically with the experience of migrants to Britain. At times they make for difficult reading, reminding one as they do of how difficult some people's lives are, however, ultimately they are not devoid of hope.… (more)
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» See also 315 mentions

English (411)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Turkish (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (430)
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
Wow! Intense. Little Bee has just spent 2 years in an immigration detention center in England, having fled persecution in Nigeria. She calls the number of a man whom she met on the beach in Nigeria, whose driver's license and business card she kept, as him and his wife are the only people she knows in England, and whom she shares a terrible experience with. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
Wow! Intense. Little Bee has just spent 2 years in an immigration detention center in England, having fled persecution in Nigeria. She calls the number of a man whom she met on the beach in Nigeria, whose driver's license and business card she kept, as him and his wife are the only people she knows in England, and whom she shares a terrible experience with. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
Wow! Intense. Little Bee has just spent 2 years in an immigration detention center in England, having fled persecution in Nigeria. She calls the number of a man whom she met on the beach in Nigeria, whose driver's license and business card she kept, as him and his wife are the only people she knows in England, and whom she shares a terrible experience with. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
An emotional story of a Nigerian girl who gets caught up in the local politics of her country, seeks Asylum in the UK and makes true friends there. The author Chris Cleave, obviously has emotions tied in to the plight of people seeking asylum from very corrupt regimes in the east. He brings it out in this fictional tale of this girl called "Little Bee". This book is very political.

I liked this book because it introduced me to a world I am very far removed from. A world where a government cares more about themselves than their own people. A world where Human life truly has no value. Little Bee, a Nigerian girl lives in this world where the day to day goal is to survive, literally. She is the perfect example of the saying, "every day above ground is a good one". Without giving too many spoilers, here is a girl who escapes this world in part thanks to a pair of British Citizens, Sarah and Andrew, who make sacrifices of their own to better understand Little Bee's world. Sarah and Andrew are both British Journalists, who in very odd ways, give Little Bee goals to shoot for other than just survival. In the end, you as the reader will come to realize that those people seeking asylum into more Civilized countries have real life and death struggles. The story is a good one. I also got very attached to the characters. Chris Cleave had the ability to draw on my emotions over the characters...and this is a good thing, because it means he got me involved.

What I didn't like about the book was how Chris Cleave presented the story. I could very easily say that the first half of the book was written like a person who had Attention Deficit Disorder. I don't mind a story line being out of sequence, but when you start straying from topics within paragraphs themselves in order to increase word count or to add descriptions that are nice but not really relevant to the story, it just gets me frustrated. Many times I would end up screaming at the book saying, "Yeah, Yeah, let's get on with it!"

Then about mid way, the characters start to come together and the story gels a little better. The story is told from two perspectives. It is told in first perspective from Little Bee's point of view, and from Sarah's point of view. Both worlds start to come together by mid book. It was as if Chris Cleave started writing Little Bee at one point, put the story down for a while and then picked it up at a later point. The second half of the book shows more writing maturity than the first half.

There are many different things I also felt were unfinished. What happened to Lawrence? Lawrence had a big emotional take when he found out Little Bee's secret. Yet, there was no description of Sarah's emotional state over the same secret. It was almost as if Chris Cleave had to hurry up and finish the story. I could go on forever describing the inconsistencies I have seen in this book. Changes that could have been made to make the story fuller...richer.

Would I recommend this book? Sure. It's a good story. I just felt that it could have been told better. There was a lot of potential and I did get attached to the characters...very believable. For me, it just had too many frustrating moments where I felt the story was lagging behind. If you can get past the, "OK, I get it, let's move this along" attitude, you may find it a very enjoyable read. ( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
The writing is brilliant. Cleave has a superb ability to capture personalities and make each one stand on its own merits. What held me back from 5 stars on this book was that the big secret was anything but. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
While the pretext of “Little Bee” initially seems contrived — two strangers, a British woman and a Nigerian girl, meet on a lonely African beach and become inextricably bound through the horror imprinted on their encounter — its impact is hardly shallow. Rather than focusing on postcolonial guilt or African angst, Cleave uses his emotionally charged narrative to challenge his readers’ conceptions of civility, of ethical choice.
 
"Little Bee" is the best kind of political novel: You're almost entirely unaware of its politics because the book doesn't deal in abstractions but in human beings.
 
Book clubs in search of the next "Kite Runner" need look no further than this astonishing, flawless novel about what happens when ordinary, mundane Western lives are thrown into stark contrast against the terrifying realities of war-torn Africa.
 
Cleave has a sharp cinematic eye, but the plot is undermined by weak motivations and coincidences.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 10, 2008)
 
The taut spring of Cleave's intricate plot is a sequence of unpalatable moral decisions that cleverly bind life-choices to the guilty freight of conscience. But this novel's great strength is the squeamishly raw candour of its protagonists.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chris Cleaveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Britain is proud of its tradition of providing a safe haven for people fleeting [sic] persecution and conflict. - From Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship (UK Home Office, 2005)
Britain is proud of its tradition of providing a safe haven for people fleeting [sic] persecution and conflict. ----- from Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship (UK Home Office, 2005)
Dedication
For Joseph
First words
Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.
Quotations
(Little Bee, p.13/14:) "...and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That's what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty (...) Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, "I survived".
Through the lobby of the Home Office building, the public sector shuffled past in its scuffed shoes, balancing its morning coffee on cardboard carry trays. The women bulged out of M&S trouser suits, wattles wobbling and bangles clacking. The men seemed limp and hypoxic--half-garroted by their ties. Everyone stooped, or scuttled, or nervously ticked. They carried themselves like weather presenters preparing to lower expectations for the bank-holiday weekend.
We knew what we had: we had nothing. Your world and our world had come to this understanding. Even the missionaries had boarded up their mission. They left us with the holy books that were not worth the expense of shipping back to your country. In our village our only Bible had all of its pages missing after the forty-sixth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of Matthew, so that the end of our religion, as far as any of us knew, was My God, my god, why hast thous forsaken me? We understood that this was the end of the story. That is how we lived, happily and without hope. I was very young then, and I did not miss having a future because I did not know I was entitled to one.
Compromise, eh? Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little bit older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it. And then you get a little bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all. You start talking about ten percent.
There were people in that crowd, and strolling along the walkway, from all of the different colors and nationalities of the earth. There were more races even than I recognized from the detention center. I stood with my back against the railings and my mouth open and I watched them walking past, more and more of them. And then I realized it. I said to myself, Little Bee, there is no them. This endless procession of people, walking along beside this great river, these people are you.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Other Hand (UK) / Little Bee (US)
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Book description
Publisher Comments:
We don't want to tell you too much about this book!

It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn't.

And it's what happens afterward that is most important.

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
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A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers--one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London.

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