by Chris Cleave
United Kingdom. 2009. 304 pages.
Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past.
They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, in an effort to save their marriage after an affair, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman for two years. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future with the help of Sarah’s four-year-old son, Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume. A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.
About the author
Chris Cleave is 36. His debut novel Incendiary won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction award 2005, and won the Prix Spécial du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007.
His second novel, titled Little Bee in the U.S. and Canada, is a New York Times #1 bestseller. It is titled The Other Hand in the UK, where it is a Sunday Times bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards.
Cleave has been a barman, a long-distance sailor and teacher of marine navigation, an internet pioneer and a journalist. He lives in London with his wife and three children. (Text and image credits: the author’s website)
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