For every action there is a supernatural reaction…

February 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Great for Book Clubs, Middle Weight Fiction | Leave a comment

‘Of Bees and Mist’, Eric Setiawan, Hodder Review 2009

Imagine if your actions had supernatural consequences. Imagine the little fib you told or the gossip you participated in manifested itself in a metaphysical way in your life somehow…it’s a thrilling thought and it’s one way to explain the fiction genre of ‘magic-realism’ into which category Eric Setiawan’s abundant debut novel ‘Of Bee’s and Mist’ falls. This is an epic story of three generations of women. The youngest of whom, Meridia is the central character and what a formidable lead character she is. Her parents are locked in what appears to be a loveless marriage and as a result of this, dark supernatural occurrences take over their daily lives. There are ghosts in the mirrors, curses from fortune tellers cause mayhem, a blue mist descends upon the home physically repelling anyone it chooses from the door, Meridia is visited in her dreams by prophecies and EVERYONE is keeping secrets. Removing the alchemy from this book the story would stand up by itself. There are births, deaths, marriages, new businesses started, old friends lost & found and warring mother in laws. Eric Setiawan has a degree in psychology and is masterful in this novel at depicting the tensions and manipulations that can occur within family units. His imagination is a force in itself fusing unearthly occurrences with daily routines. When life runs smoothly for these families flowers bloom out of season, the sun shines in winter, children become complacent and doting but when the families are feuding with each other swarms of invisible bees thwart them, fortunes are lost, personalities change, people grow hooves in place of feet and others are encased in blocks of ice! This book brought back to my mind Isabelle Allende’s wonderful novel ‘The House of the Spirits’ . I recommend it highly. Eric Setiawan is firmly on my one to watch list.

Haiku; Invisible bees, over three generations, thwart daily lives

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