Of Bees and Mist: A Novel

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Overview

Reminiscent of Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child, Erick Setiawan's richly atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families; their destructive jealousies, their loves and losses, their sacrifices and deeply rooted deceptions, and their triumphs.

Of Bees and Mist is the tale of Meridia -- raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, she spends her childhood feeling neglected and ...
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Blackstone Audio, Inc., 08/04/2009, MP3 CD, Ex-Rental. Good condition. MP3 CD. Case Good. Unabridged edition. Original artwork may contain stickers or shelfware. Quality ... guaranteed! Read more Show Less

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Of Bees and Mist: A Novel

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Overview

Reminiscent of Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child, Erick Setiawan's richly atmospheric debut is a beautiful, engrossing fable of three generations of women in two families; their destructive jealousies, their loves and losses, their sacrifices and deeply rooted deceptions, and their triumphs.

Of Bees and Mist is the tale of Meridia -- raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, she spends her childhood feeling neglected and invisible. Every evening her father vanishes inside a blue mist without so much as an explanation, and her mother spends her days venomously beheading cauliflowers in the kitchen. At sixteen, desperate to escape, Meridia marries a tenderhearted young man and moves into his seemingly warm and charming family home. Little does she suspect that his parents are harboring secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden. There are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other. And there is Eva, the formidable matriarch whose grievances swarm the air like an army of bees. In this haunting story, Setiawan takes Meridia on a tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak as she struggles to keep her young family together and discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as the shocking truths about her husband's family.

Readers of magic-realist fiction will instantly be captivated by this richly evocative fairy tale. Of Bees and Mist takes place in a nameless town during a timeless era, where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, ghosts and clairvoyance -- both real and imagined -- are an everyday reality. Setiawan skillfully blends the real and the fantastical as he follows our heroine over a 30-year time span in which her love, courage, and sanity are tested to the limit.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Setiawan's debut novel spans 30 years in this heartfelt magical-realist story of two rival families living in a mystical world that transcends both time and place. Meridia is a lonely child; a mysterious incident when she was an infant has torn apart her parents, leaving them sharing nothing but a cold, mist-filled home. Not until Meridia meets the charmer Daniel, at age 16, does she finally feel loved. They marry and move in with his family and at first Meridia loves her life in Daniel's home. But she quickly learns of matriarch Eva's deceitful, manipulative ways and her power, both natural and supernatural, which she uses to control her family. When Meridia rebels against Eva, finding unexpected support from her parents, the rivalry solidifies and a lifelong battle begins. As time passes, Meridia faces heartbreak and betrayal, becoming a strong, fiercely independent woman. While filled with fortune-tellers, ghosts and unexplained phenomena, the relationships between the various characters are true to life so that fans of fantasy and fiction lovers alike are sure to enjoy this magical tale. (Aug.)

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Library Journal
This is the story of the worst mother-in-law ever. A young woman from a bizarrely unhappy home finally thinks she will find freedom in marriage to the young man of her dreams, but it turns out that his family is even more bizarrely unhappy, and his mother is the most vicious harpy imaginable. Over the years, the two women engage in an epic battle over everything from food to family and nearly destroy all they hold dear in the process. All of this happens in an unnamed magical land (apparently inspired by the author's native Indonesia), where the bees are spies and the mist is sentient. Despite the feeling of "once upon a time," the characters have things like kitchen appliances and photographs, but women are still treated (and behave) like children. The story is almost operatic in scope—the only motivations are jealousy, greed, and thwarted love, and everyone has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old. VERDICT This debut reads like a fairy tale for adults but somehow lacks the humanity of similar magical realist tales (e.g., Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Isabelle Allende's The House of the Spirits). Optional.—Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib.
Kirkus Reviews
Magical spells, strange demons and one utterly impossible mother-in-law drive the plot of a moody fairy tale set in no particular time and place. Meridia, the heroine of this debut novel, grows up in a large and curious home: Its staircase has a habit of lengthening every so often, and powerful mists are capable of pulling unwanted visitors away from the front door. But beneath this strangeness lies some very common familial dysfunction. Gabriel and Ravenna, Meridia's parents, are barely on speaking terms, and rumors abound that Gabriel has taken a mistress. Understandably, Meridia grows up eager to escape. As a teenager she falls for Daniel, whose mother, Eva, busies herself tartly abusing nearly everyone she meets. When her ire is especially stoked, usually toward Meridia, Eva can call on a swarm of bees to punctuate her passive-aggressive fits of pique. This book is largely the story of a decades-long war between Eva and Meridia, and on occasion the magical setting effectively emphasizes how corrosive the relationship is. But the uncanny touches are haphazardly deployed, and the book is largely a flat narrative about in-laws who don't get along. Squabble follows squabble as Meridia attempts to escape Eva's clutches; Eva strikes back; and Daniel behaves as a milquetoast, uncertain of the truth of either woman's accusations. Those bees occasionally serve as a useful symbol of the wages of self-doubt-they tend to swarm in whenever Meridia questions Eva's judgment-but the mists and ghosts that appear seem to serve little purpose other than to modestly enliven a simplistic, repetitious story that makes Meridia's virtue nearly as tedious as Eva's viciousness. Setiawan unconvincingly inflatesa tiny narrative into a supernatural epic. Agent: Alex Glass/Trident Media Group
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441710956
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Erick Setiawan

ERICK SETIAWAN was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents and moved to the United States in 1991. He is a graduate of Stanford University and currently lives in San Francisco.

Marguerite Gavin is a seasoned theater and screen actor as well as a popular audiobook narrator. Holding a B.F.A. in theater and an M.F.A. in acting, she is the artistic director of a youth theater program in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband and son.

Biography

Erick Setiawan was born in 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. A quiet, shy child, he was thankfully raised in a family of gifted storytellers, who taught him that while life might have an endless supply of conflict, not all of it translates into a good story. Due to the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent in Indonesia, his childhood was often fraught with tension, which prompted him to take comfort in books and in the world of his imagination. To traumatize him further, his parents sent him to Catholic schools, where he learned from an early age to feel guilty about everything and that a grown man in a sash and a swishing robe with a ruler in his hand was in no way maternal.

At age sixteen, he left his family and moved to the United States. He knew three people and barely spoke English, yet was somehow convinced that he could compete with the top students to get into the best colleges. His resolution/delusion pushed him to work hard. The following year, his first choice, Harvard, rejected him, but fortunately Stanford had a lower standard. To this day, he believes that they admitted him by mistake.

In college, he wanted to study English, but his shyness and insecurity about his adopted language prevented him from enrolling in classes that required him to speak. Instead, he chose to major in Psychology and Computer Science, going as far as getting a Master's in the latter. Bafflingly enough, studying about mental disorders and complex algorithms only increased his hunger for literature. Once too often, he shuffled aside his term papers and problem sets to lose himself in a novel.

After graduation, he began his tenure as a software engineer in San Francisco. By the end of the first year, he knew that his heart was not in it. Confronted with the risk of being a corporate burnout at twenty-six, he turned to writing in his spare time. To the exasperation of his bosses, he began coming to work late and taking longer and longer lunch breaks in order to write. Several years, two failed novels, and countless short stories later, he decided to quit his job to finish writing Of Bees and Mist. At the time, he had no book deal and knew no one in publishing, but he pursued his passion with the same stubborn resolution/delusion that had motivated him earlier. He sold Of Bees and Mist four years after he started it.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Erick Setiawan:

"I sing Richard Marx at karaoke. Still."

"Before I devoted all my waking hours to finishing Of Bees and Mist, I was a software engineer. In order to write, I would come to work late and leave early, not counting the ungodly long lunch hours I pilfered from my bosses. Yet instead of firing me, they kept promoting me and giving me raises! I remain boggled to this day."

"When I lived in Indonesia, I fought with my parents for two years before they finally let me go to America at age sixteen. For reasons best known to themselves, many people tried their hardest to stop my parents. There was one woman who supposedly graduated from Harvard and who took it upon herself to scare my mother to death. She said that the streets of the U.S.A. were teeming with drug dealers, gangsters, and serial killers—all of which could be easily confirmed by a viewing of Taxi Driver and The Silence of the Lambs. But the worst part of it, she said, were American women. 'They'll weave their many webs around your son and seduce him,' she told my mother. 'Once they have him trapped, they'll suck him dry and leave him broken and overdosed on the street.' I don't know which Harvard she went to, but it sure was a good thing that I didn't listen to her!"

"I consider it both a lifelong pleasure and a non-negotiable necessity to be a reader. I don't understand people who don't—or won't—read, or those who prefer TV to books. And to write is the absolute thrill and privilege for me. Most mornings, I wake up not knowing if I'm Chinese, Indonesian, or American, and it is only through writing that I can create a landscape in which someone like myself would feel at ease and not be branded a foreigner. Books have no borders, no locks, no exclusionary policies. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to be in this position. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy Of Bees and Mist!"

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, CA
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 15, 1975
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jakarta, Indonesia
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Psychology & B.S. in Computer Science, Stanford U., 1998; M.S. in Computer Science, Stanford U., 2000

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 186 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(70)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 186 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2009

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    My Favorite Book for 2009

    Erick Setiawan's debut novel Of Bees & Mist will take you on an epic journey to a mystical place. Prepare to suspend your disbelief and be jolted to an unfamiliar time and place where your imagination will be required to work overtime. This new author's creative skill is unquestionably evident in his evocative imagery which will have you really hearing the buzz of angry bees, smelling the lingering scent of verbena and finding your vision obscured by colored mists.

    This dark fairy tale features many engaging characters but mainly traces a character called Meridia. She grows up in a cold, lonely and loveless home full of deceit and humiliation. During her childhood she struggles to uncover the mysteries of her parents' marriage and the mists which strangle their home. When Meridia marries she moves into a new home that is not what it initially appears. She is forced to engage in an ongoing war with her spiteful mother-in-law in order to preserve herself and the love of her husband. Over and over again she must reach inside herself and connect with her inner strength in order to survive.

    There are many bizarre elements in this book which can be interpreted metaphorically or literally. The strange occurrences seem to dramatize the dynamics within a dysfunctional family and describe negative emotions as they would look if released visibly. The mist which hovers over the house also hovers over the book in general. I loved the ambiguity of the time and place in which the book is set. The more questions a good book evokes in our minds the better. I enjoy a book that is open to numerous possible interpretations because you can interact with it more. You can play with the ideas, language and setting in your own mind and build upon the scaffolding put up by the author. Of Bees and Mist is such a book.

    Setiawan's book depicts the universal theme of good against evil. It has a very dramatic feel in the way it slowly builds up to a crescendo. His unique interpretation of the theme places the battle in a fantasy realm and on a domestic scale. Essentially this book is about real family relationships; the hate, jealousy, betrayal, manipulation and ultimately love that binds people together. Of Bees & Mist is a timeless book that not only invites numerous readings but will echo in your subconscious long after you have savored every word.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Great story lost in the midst of the magical. 2 1/2 to 3 stars

    There is really an interesting story here of the internal struggles for life, freedom, power and love within a 3 generational family. This story could take place in any town, in any time. Erick Setiawan shows real potential in his debut novel. The problem is the mixing of several genres, from Mystical, to Supernatural, to Realism without really settling in on one and therefore there are some clumsy transitions from one to another that make it hard to follow at times. It is a family drama that, because of the straight forward story telling interrupted with bits of the magical, one might even have a hard time determining where to find it shelved in a bookstore or library. Some of the metaphors are quickly understandable, others will leave you just mystified at what is going on in that scene and why. This book will either enthrall you or frustrate you, or perhaps do both as it did with me. Erick has created great characters, and the pacing is excellent. This story plot of the combining, and conniving of these two families and how it impacts each member of the families is magical but often overshadowed by "the magical" world in which it takes place. It is creative yet confusing at times. The ending left me somewhat disappointed, and much left unanswered. Having said this though, Erick shows a great talent for writing and I am looking forward to seeing where he goes in his career but on this first outing, I think I could recommend it only to those who really enjoy fantasy. Though it would probably not be of interest to the younger readers because of the dramatic family plot line. I wanted to love this book, and so I read it all the way through. Unfortunately, in the end, I neither loved nor hated it. But I will be looking for more from this author in the future. His storytelling ability does intrigue me and he does have a great style. This really good drama mixed up unevenly with fantasy was just not the book for me.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Uninviting

    Of Bees and Mist is a fairy tale for adults, full of fanciful features meant to symbolize pieces of the life of the main character, a young woman named Meridia. It is also something of a coming of age story. While many readers seem to find the book enchanting, for me the "magic" and metaphors were ludicrously exaggerated. Meridia's life is a misery from first page to last. Her parents come across as barely human, and they raise their daughter in a cold, misty void. Meridia's only "friend", Hannah, is obviously Meridia's inner self, the strength that lies buried within. Her husband is spineless, her mother in law a gross caricature of a harpy from hell (she's the one with the bees, an endless, malevolent supply of them.) The more minor characters are treated as pawns.

    For me, reading Of Bees and Mist was a bleak, disagreeable experience. I cannot recommend it, but would suggest to those considering giving it a try that they read the positive reviews as well, before making a decision one way or another.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Timeless Novel

    In his debut novel, Erick Setiawan tells the story of two families, three generations brought together by marriage. This is a story of love, hate, heartache, betrayal, long buried secrets and strength. It is a story of complex relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, a mother and son and a young woman and her new in-laws. The author uses mysticism, fantasy, magic and symbolism to describe the day to day events in the lives of these two families and the methods they choose to cope with their stuggles. His unique writing style draws the reader deep into the story from the very beginning. There are some twists and surprises and the ending is not predictable. This is a book that will stay with you long after you read the last line of the last chapter.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

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    Adult Fairy Tale?

    I started this book with an open mind. It had a magical opening with a haunted house covered in mists. However, the story line did not live up to expectation. It is neither a fairy tale or a myth. It is a story of a couple of dysfunctional families and how they destroyed each other. The ending was anticlimatic. There was no "moral" as in fairy tale, and it did not give a mythical tale to explain "This is how........."

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    of Bees and Mist

    First off, the cover of this book is amazing. The story is timeless. The magic is interwoven so seemlessly that you could really believe it. The symbolism in this book really kept me on my toes with meaning and double meaning. This book is a fairy tale for grown-ups.
    Although the main character of the story is Meridia, how she grows up, marries young and becomes a strong women in her own right. Erick Setiawan did a remarkable job in also telling the story of Ravenna, (Meridia's mother) and Eva, (Meridia's mother-in-law) and how all three shaped the lives of their families and those around them.
    Mr. Setiawan's style of writing was easy to follow and made this book a totally enjoyable read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A remarkable debut and a magical journey through life

    Of Bees and Mist opened up a world previously unknown to me. A world where women can grow herbs out of their arms and chest, mist haunts the front door, and men can swallow vegetables whole and spit them out chopped, seasoned and pickled.

    There was something almost fantastical about the writing style. For some reason, as I read the book, which flowed with a surrealism and slight goth-like feel, I was reminded of children's stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (atleast the happy Gene Wilder movie version) and Neverending Story.

    You know how I can tell that I really like a book? I find myself taking notes while I read, wanting to make sure that I quote a favorite passage and get down my feelings at a particular moment. Much of my review on a "great book" is written during the reading of the book, so everything is fresh. I did that a LOT with this book.

    I guess this book wasn't really anything like I expected, and quite honestly if you were to give me details about it ahead of time I probably never would have read it. I wouldn't have expected to find a book written with such fantastical flavor, and which at times can be somewhat dark and heavy, so charming. Really a lovely and impressive debut by Mr. Setiawan. I look forward to seeing what rabbit he has hiding up his sleeve next.

    I jumped right into this book without really even taking in the cover art. Someone in the book discussion pointed out all of the hidden pictures to be found in the cover art-- pictures that are like little windows into Meridia's life.

    This book follows the often sad and bewildering life of Meridia, swallowed up in a world reminiscent of a Harry Potter book. You really feel for Meridia, and just want to take her in your arms and shelter her. You keep waiting for someone to do this. "Where is her protector?", you keep wondering in frustration. "Where is her shelter from the world? Her lee from the wind? Will no one be her champion?"

    I've said in the past that I'm not a "book club" kind of gal-- that I don't want to sit around and discuss books and symbolism. I just want to read a good story. I have to say that this book has shown that not to be entirely true. This book is FULL of symbolism, and I found that I LOVED it. Additionally it was a wonderfully good story and kept me totally absorbed.

    A remarkable debut novel, and highly recommended. Love it, love it, love it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an interesting adult fairy tale parable

    Meridia's home contains all types of magical spells and demons; not all kind. She thinks she will escape her hell of her dysfunctional battling parents when she falls in love with her knight in shining armor. She knows Daniel will rescue her.

    However, Meridia had not counted on his family especially his mother making her parents look harmonious. Eva is abusive to everyone but especially her new daughter in law. She uses bees as spies and weapons of mass destruction. Her treatment of others including Meridia has her finally fighting back as Daniel fails to intercede between the two women in his life.

    This is an interesting adult fairy tale parable that exaggerates Meridia's overall purity and the evilness of her parents and mother-in-law; the spouse is a wuss who chooses neither side in the extended family war of good and evil. Ghosts and killer bees add excitement to the mix, but Meridia as victim in her parents' home and Meridia as victim in her husband's home is too frequent with little respite as Erick Setiawan argues that adhering to the Golden Rule does not mean others will likewise. Still sub-genre readers will enjoy the war between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law while the man who links them stays docilely neutral.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Of Bees and Mist is at once magical and adventurous in the telling. Sometimes enchanting, sometimes a bit spooky. An impressive debut for Erick Setiawan.

    Of Bees and Mist falls into the 'magic-realist' fiction category and I have to say, that I don't think that I have ever read a book quite like this one. Meridia falls in love with Daniel and moves into his family's home. There she encounters Eva, the mother-in-law from hell. Eva is so wicked and vile that when she goes to work on you, bees fly out of her mouth to attack you. Needless to say, her words sting quite a bit. Elias, her husband is good at heart, but has a terrible time living with his wife and fights are a daily occurrence. At first, Meridia tries her best to get along with her mother-in-law, but all that ends when she has her own child and sees Eva for who she really is. This of course causes all sorts of problems between Meridia and her husband, Daniel.

    Reading this book was like taking a trip to the circus. Not the circus you and I know today, but a circus from years past. The colorful tents, the jugglers, the musicians, the smell of circus food wafting in the air. This book had a FEELING to it. Every time I picked it up I felt as if I was taken back in time to this magical place. I really enjoyed it.

    The only criticism I have is that the Meridia/Eva battle seemed to go on a tad too long and it sort of overshadowed the interactions between some of the other characters. Overall, I was charmed by this book and wonder what Erick Setiawan is working on next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

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    A magic and enchanting book!

    I got this book in First Look Bookclub and have to say I liked it too much. What to say of a woman who buzzes like bees and a house full of mists? A man who hates his child and for years doesn't talk to his wife? A mysterious atmospehere rounds all the book. If you like stories full of magical powers, fables, rounded of adventures, love and overcomings so this is the story you have to read. An absorbing book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

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    This Grabs you in the first few pages

    If you like mystery, magicalyt powers, and a good love story then this book will be for you. I liked the main character Meridia. She is strong and knows what she wants. The love story between her and Daniel is excellent and to be admired. My mother in law looks good compared to Meridia's. I am anxious to read other books from this new writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    First Look strikes again!

    I signed up for the Barnes and Noble First Look Club to receive this book. Although completely outside the realm of what I normally read, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was a little confused at first, and wasn't sure I would like this book. But, I gave it a chance. The characters were rich, although not everyone of them was pleasant. The story was easy to keep wrapped up into. I enjoyed the magic elements, which felt to me like the could be part of everyday life. I felt like the characters were easy to identify with even with the magic. I liked that the story could have taken place anywhere and anytime. Overall 2 thumbs up for a great debut book from a new author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    The title is intriguing yet simple. It's a pull to open the book and discover what the two words produce.

    The beginning was confusing for me. I realized that I had to let myself be "in the story". Then I was able to understand and appreciate the characters. All the characters were strong; and I found myself projecting what would happen only to be surprised later. It was an exciting story and I look forward to other works of Mr. Setiawan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very different place and time - check it out

    This is my first First Look Book Club experience and it was very interesting.

    The book was different from anything that I'd read before. When I began, it seemed very too slow. I kept hoping that there would be more action, less of the sadness. Fortunately, the book became more absorbing as Meredia took more control over her life. I enjoyed reading about her "becoming normal" and her friendships with her new neighbors after she moved into her own home.

    I think that not everyone will like this book, but those who do will truly enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Strange, to say the least

    Meridia grows up in a family where her mother and father both treat her horribly. Her parents seem to forget that Meridia even exists. She then meets Daniel and hopes that her life will change for the better. She moves in with Daniel's family and soon things are worse than they were with her own parents. Daniel's mother is wonderful at first, then her true colors start showing and Meridia is stuck between her husband and her mother-in-law. It is a war and both women are determined to win...

    I am probably the only person on the planet who didn't just love this book! I thought it was just plain strange. There are lots of unusual things happening in this story from mysterious mists, to swarms of bees, and all kinds of other strange things. I got frustrated with the never ending obstacles facing Miridia-she goes from one battle to the next. She never seems to catch a break and it gets old after a while. The characters were vibrant and very real, but the story just didn't do it for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected

    I had the opportunity to read Of Bees and Mist as part of Barnes & Noble's First Look club. I like magic and fantasy, but this book did not 'do it' for me. Yes, I read it all, and went back to re-read parts to see what I was perhaps missing that other readers were getting from it. I never did find that magic. I did find that the over-exaggeration of magic and metaphors got me les and less 'enchanted' with it.

    Of Bees and Mist is a fairy tale for adults. It is also somewhat of a coming of age story for it's main character, Mederia, and her miserable life. Her parents were virtually non-existent for her. Meridia's only "friend", Hannah, was/is too obviously Meridia's internal hopes and dreams. Her husband is spineless and lets his mother dictate his life.

    I cannot recommend reading Of Bees and Mist, despite the many good reviews. However, you may find the magic that was missing for me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    Good First Novel - 2 1/2 Stars

    For a first book, it has some strong points. Erick has weaved scents/fragrances theme that evoke strong memories and feelings throughout the story. A strong set of characters cemented the storyline. The best is the character of Eva as the epitome of the evil in-law. I was disappointed in the ending because I would have liked Eva to have a stronger part in the ending. The book could have weaved the magic/mysticism with the real life of the characters better to keep the flow. The characters were so strong that sometimes the mysticism seemed superfluous. I liked that the fragrance theme was continued out til the last section. I liked the fragrances and I thought that the use of fragrance was done well throughout the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    Vivid imagery throughout

    Meridia lives in a world that weaves midevil times (there are no cars), present (there are telephones) and magic. I was sucked in instantly by the wonderful writing and imagery throughout. Meridia is a lonely child who doesn't have much contact with the outside world until she meets Daniel at a street fair at the age of 16. She falls in love with him instantly and they marry. At first, everything is wonderful, but soon enough her mother-in-law intrudes upon their happiness. Meridia, using skills learned from both her mother and her mother-in-law, is able to withstand the barrage of torment while remaining a sympathetic character. The story may be a little cliche, but I felt the characters were well-developed and believable and I had a hard time putting this one down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enter the Mist

    I have to say, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this one. It was billed as an 'adult fable', set in a world similar to ours but where magic and mysticism was real. Surprisingly, it wasn't hokey or overbearing... in fact, the world of the book was exactly like ours, but for a few supernatural elements that fit into place as smoothly as, say... that final Christmas tree ornament that doesn't distract from everything around it, but simply pulls everything together and makes it look complete.

    The story follows three women and the men in their lives, and I was surprised at how well Setiawan was able to write sympathetic female characters. I can't say the book was entirely driven by a central plot, more like a central idea... and at times I felt like I was simply observing the lives of people rather than being engaged in a story, and yet... it worked. I kept reading. I was intrigued and wanted to see where it went, what these bizarre people would do next, and how they would manipulate each other over and over again.

    I'll admit it - I haven't quite figured out yet what the point of the whole thing was, but I do know that I put the book down with a pleasant feeling of time well spent, and a knowing that I would easily recommend it to others.

    If you want to know more about the story itself, perhaps read a synopsis on the website here, as I don't want to give away too much about the people within its pages before you get to know them on your own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014

    Love

    Love

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