Our book of the month for November is ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christi Lefteri. This book is based on the author’s experiences over two summers while volunteering at a refugee centre in Athens. This unforgettable novel puts faces to the Syrian war by following a beekeeper and his wife on their journey to safety. The protagonist, Nuri, knows that he and his wife must flee their home when their entire lives are uprooted by war. With a perilous task facing them, Nuri must navigate grief as well as leading his family towards an uncertain future in Britain. Readers are transported with the characters while they make their way through unspeakable loss and confront danger that would scare the bravest souls. Most of all, Nuri and his wife make their way back to each other throughout this story, weaving a message of love and forgiveness into the main storyline.
Described as “moving, intimate and beautifully written”, this novel reminds us that the lives once peaceful and ordinary can be upended by unimaginable things, as well as exploring the effects that trauma can have on individuals and their relationships. Nuri and Afra demonstrate what is right in front of us, and rather than being broadly drawn as victims, their stories are rich and complex, instead showing suffering in different ways, such as PTSD and the impacts of grief. The fact that the characters have such rich stories shows how it can help to create compassion for millions by sharing the story of just one.
This novel is truly inspiring as the characters overcome the adversities they face and carve a path towards a better life despite all the odds being stacked against them. The main messages of the book are hope and bravery, shown entirely though the way that Nuri and Afra conduct themselves within foreign and potentially dangerous lands and with people just as threatening. This book will enrich perspective on issues still facing many today, and also brings to light a perspective not often heard on a matter which widely effects so many.