Chris Cleave’s Little Bee is an astonishing and unforgettable story.
Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past.
They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, in an effort to save their marriage after an affair, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman for two years. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future with the help of Sarah's four-year-old son, Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume. A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.
"Utterly enthralling page-turner... Novelist Cleave does a brilliant job of making both characters not only believable but memorable.... These compelling voices grip the reader's heart and do not let go even after the book's hyper-tense final page. Little Bee is a harrowing and heartening marvel of a novel." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
About the Author
Chris Cleave Chris Cleave is a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London. His first novel, Incendiary, won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Award, and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007. His second novel, Little Bee, was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Award for Best Novel. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
"Book clubs in search of the next Kite Runner need look no further than this astonishing, flawless novel about what happens when ordinary, mundane Western lives are thrown into stark contrast against the terrifying realities of war-torn Africa….Best-selling author Cleave (Incendiary) effortlessly moves between alternating viewpoints with lucid, poignant prose and the occasional lighter note. A tension-filled dramatic ending and plenty of moral dilemmas add up to a satisfying, emotional read." —Library Journal
"[Cleave’s] second ensnaring, eviscerating novel charms the reader with ravishing descriptions, sly humor, and the poignant improvisations of Sarah's Batman-costumed young son, then launches devastating attacks in the form of Little Bee's elegantly phrased insights into the massive failure of compassion in the world of refugees. Cleave is a nerves-of-steel storyteller of stealthy power, and this is a novel as resplendent and menacing as life itself." —Booklist(starred Review)
"The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel “don't want to spoil” the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and ‘no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2.’ Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state." —Amazon Best of the Month, February 2009