The Bee-Loud Glade

The Bee-Loud Glade

4.0 3
by Steve Himmer

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Fiction. Finch is a daydreamer whose job as a marketer of plastic plants consists mostly of updating the blogs of the imaginary people he creates. Once new management steps in and kicks him out, Finch slowly lets go of all ties to the outside world. With both his electricity and motivation shut off, he sinks into a state of oblivion, holed up in his apartment for


Fiction. Finch is a daydreamer whose job as a marketer of plastic plants consists mostly of updating the blogs of the imaginary people he creates. Once new management steps in and kicks him out, Finch slowly lets go of all ties to the outside world. With both his electricity and motivation shut off, he sinks into a state of oblivion, holed up in his apartment for weeks on end. But when his reply to what he thinks is innocuous spam sweeps him into the world of billionaire Mr. Crane, Finch agrees to live and work—for more money than he's ever imagined—as an ornamental hermit in a cave on Mr. Crane's estate. This darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth probes deep-rooted questions about the nature of man, the workplace, and society (and what happens in their absence). Set in a postmodern pastoral landscape, it brings a playfulness more commonly found in urban fiction to an outdoor setting.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As assistant to the director of Brand Awareness for a plastic plant company, Finch is a corporate drone, 10 years and counting. His job primarily consists of talking up company product on numerous weblogs and chat rooms via dozens of fake users he's created. When he's fired, he has no interest in other work, but has bills to pay, so he takes a billionaire named Crane up on his offer. The job: to sit in his garden, perform basic tasks, and above all, never speak; in short, to be a decorative hermit. For this service, Finch will be paid a staggering sum. Once on the job, Finch learns some valuable lessons about money, self-sufficiency, and even himself, but what he doesn't count on is how completely this job will change his attitude towards life, leading him down a path he never imagined. Himmer's debut novel evokes Chekhov, Thoreau, Fowles, and others but unfortunately without the resonance of those authors. His intentions are obvious: Finch is an everyman designed to be identified with by the modern cubicle-dweller; Crane represents the petulant prerogatives of the ultra-rich. The book doesn't ultimately attain what Himmer hopes it will, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. (Apr.)

Product Details

Atticus Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Michael Kindness
"Featuring a faceless drone from the world of corporate America and an eccentric billionaire whose whims change by the week, Steve Himmer's The Bee-Loud Glade is a wonderful novel that's hard to describe, but that's a good thing. Just go where this stunning book takes you and enjoy the story, the characters, and the language." --(Michael Kindness, host of Books on the Nightstand)
Tom McCarthy
An allegorical novel that seems eerily contemporary. Thoreau meets Ballard, meets Huysmans and many more. --(Tom McCarthy, author of Remainder and C)
Peter Grandbois
"Meet Finch: 10 years into his job as Assistant to the Director of Brand Awareness at Second Nature Modern Greenery, writer of dozens of blogs where he creates imaginary lives for himself — none as surreal as the life he'll soon lead as a hermit. Enter Himmer's humorous, carefully imagined world. Watch his skillful hand transform Finch into a postmodern Thoreau before your eyes. Sit still. Pay attention. Do all this, and you, too, will fall under this novel's wondrous spell. I promise." --(Peter Grandbois, author of The Gravedigger, The Arsenic Lobster, and Nahoonkara)
Frederick Reiken
"With The Bee-Loud Glade, Steve Himmer has written a hypnotic and heartfelt debut novel, interweaving naturalistic beauty and postmodern complexity within this compulsively readable parable. Whether the story's hermit-for-hire is a man approaching some form of enlightenment or merely the whim of an eccentric billionaire remains up for debate, but the novel itself is unambiguously ingenious and very clearly announces a shining new talent." --(Frederick Reiken, author of Day for Night, The Lost Legends of New Jersey, and The Odd Sea)
William Walsh
"In The Bee-Loud Glade, Steve Himmer examines the charm of inertia. He professionalizes hermitry, making it a spectacle that is equal parts sitcom and documentary. The premise is wild but the execution is contemplative, making this novel funny two ways: funny ha-ha and funny strange." --(William Walsh, author of Questionstruck and Ampersand, Mass.)

Meet the Author

Steve Himmer teaches at Emerson College in Boston, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is on the faculty of the First-Year Writing Program. His stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Hobart, The Los Angeles Review, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, PANK, Emprise Review, and Everyday Genius. He also is a frequent blogger on writing and teaching, and edits Necessary Fiction, a webjournal from So New Publishing, a press based in Eugene, Oregon.

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Bee-Loud Glade 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Even the name Himmer reminds one of a sound one might hear in a bee-loud glen. Himmer the author leads us into a world we vaguely recognize (perhaps we are blind, too) as modern-day America: outside a large city sits a mansion on a hill. Just as in days of yore, when wealthy landowners changed the landscape to suit their tastes, a wealthy capitalist has modified his land holdings to create a lovely locale but bemoans the fact he has no time to enjoy it. So he hires a disaffected young man to live the life of a happy hermit in the environment he has created. Things go remarkably smoothly for a time. **Reading Group questions Ahead** Our hermit describes his daily life in a way that parallels in important ways the life of an author. When one chooses to join the writing life, the author seems to say, one signs off to major portions of the ordinary days lived by the majority. One spends lots of time alone, observing, trying to achieve some level of proficiency in arts (not just writing, but other expressive arts) one has never practiced before. One must become wholly focused and may even waste a lot of time in trying to find a way through the lonely existence of learning to see. But eventually, when our hermit is offered an opportunity to leave his cave and live the life of a wealthy man, he turns it down. By this time he is used to scrabbling in the dirt for his food, and finds the wondrous taste of his own production payment enough. The fact that our hermit actually became sightless as time wore on made me curious. Could this be the selfishness of authors who abandon other familial or residential duties to focus on their one interest, leaving the heavy-lifting (wage-earning, cooking, cleaning, child-raising) to loved ones? But since our hermit decides to stay where he is despite his blindness, I begin to think that perhaps he has found his inner life more rewarding, in the end, than living in the world. And perhaps in his sightlessness, he can actually see motive and remember beauty more clearly. Though he strains to see, the outlines his vision allows gives him what he needs to go on. Is Old Man River an editor? Is Mr. Crane (the name can't be irrelevant) a large publisher? Is Mrs. Crane the distractions of the flesh? Who, then, are the hikers? Fellow artists that gather to perfect their craft, stealing occasionally, the fruits of another?
wightknyte More than 1 year ago
This book has to have one of the most interesting premises I've seen in a while. In short, a guy gets fired from his job running multiple blogs for imaginary people in order to market fake plants gets fired and pretty much quits life only to get hired by some rich guy to live as a hermit in his garden. Himmer makes good use of the premise as well. The rich guy becomes a sort of god figure, though god seems to drift in to become the rich guy in a way at some point. It's strange, but delightful. It's a hell of an interesting meditation on modern life.
librarysusie More than 1 year ago
This book was like a cross between Castaway and Big Brother. Finch has lost his job and falls into a depression after a long time of not showering or leaving the house he answers a spam email for an unknown job and the next day a limo shows up and whisks him away to a big mansion compound where a billionaire wants him to be his garden hermit, for 7 years and $5 million and Finch accepts. This is the odd premise of this fascinating book. This was such a unique book it is hard to review… What started as a “job” for $5 million dollars turns into a life Finch loves and he never wants to leave his garden. He spends his day in reflective meditation, floating naked in the river that was built just for him, working in his vegetable field and he is very happy way happier than he was in his old life. Even though he knows his whole life is being filmed and recorded he finds ways to ignore the cameras. His new boss sets tasks for him along the way but eventually things change and Finch is all alone and quite happy. Oh I don’t want to give too much away but will say Finch does have a choice to make and it made me wonder which choice I would make. The narration of this audiobook is done by Mark F. Smith and he does a very nice job and I would listen to him again. This is straight up storytelling with only a couple different voices but it was a story well told by Mark F. Smith. As always the production value from iambik audio is top notch. The serene peaceful life Finch leads made me wonder if I could do it give up all my creature comforts and electronics to live as a hermit. Honestly I don’t think I could, at least not for the amount of time Finch does. I enjoyed this book and was never bored with Finch’s life even though he pretty much does nothing. I highly recommend this book so you can start your own reflective meditations on how rushed and busy our lives are. 4 Stars