On Monday, August 8th, at 7 p.m., join us to discuss Grey Bees by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk. For August 8th, we're using a hybrid model again; people can attend in person at our Prince Street store or attend via Zoom. As always, if you haven't finished a book before our meeting time, please consider attending regardless.
With a warm yet political humor, Ukraine's most famous novelist presents a balanced and illuminating portrait of modern conflict.
Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine's Grey Zone, the no-man's-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a rival from his schooldays. With little food and no electricity, under constant threat of bombardment, Sergeyich's one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich's childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets. But could these qualities be manipulated to serve an unworthy cause, spelling disaster for him, his bees and his country?