Sunday, August 01, 2010

Of Bees and Mist

I wanted to read this book ever since I read it's review a year ago when it first published. Last June with the help of her aunt, A sent me this book with such wonderful cover. Today I finally finished reading Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan who before migrated to the US of A when he was 16, Erick spent his childhood in Indonesia. I find this background is very prominent in his enchanted story centered on the life of Meridia, span for about 3 decades.

Born into a dysfunctional family, Meridia found love in charismatic Daniel and married him. It was then her troubles really started, coming in the form of his mother, Eva, who once captured Meridia's heart. Erick woved his story with supernatural elements vividly that they are becoming part of life of the characters. It comes in the form of specific scent cling to a character, mists that behave in certain way it might as well alive, bees and marigold. They are allegorical to emotions and reflection of the characters.

Erick drew from his Chinese background, the food, the tradition of newlywed living with the family of the groom and some behaviors. I heard there's tradition in some Chinese families that the mother-in-law choose what part of your dowry that you keep and what part that she keeps, just like in this story.

It is very interesting to see how the story unfold and how the characters grow. The intricate familial relationships with its love and hate which I think we all can identify with. How two strong women collide. For a book written by a man, this one is full of strong women and weak, adulterous men.

In general, I like this book, there are parts that I just couldnt put it down, but there are parts that went on and on, it reminds me of the bees. Not bad for a debut novel, I look forward for his next one.


colson said...

Hey, this is a book I bought a few months ago. The cover of my copy is not quite as beautiful as yours is (mine has been published by Headline Review in 2009). I left it on the shelf largely unread because I lost appetite after chapter 4 (so I've read only 1/10 of the book).

Your pretty positive review makes me curious. So I may try the remaining 9/10 because of you.

triesti said...

Like I said, there are parts that I thought Eva was talking to me:) Just hang in there..