Book Review: The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai (Literary Fiction)
Title: The Ardent Swarm Author: Yamen Manai Publisher: Amazon Crossing Publication Date: 19 Janaury 2021 Pages: 204 Format: eBook - PDF Genre: Literary Fiction Source:ARC via NetGalley
Sidi lives a hermetic
life as a bee whisperer, tending to his beloved “girls” on the outskirts
of the desolate North African village of Nawa. He wakes one morning to
find that something has attacked one of his beehives, brutally killing
every inhabitant. Heartbroken, he soon learns that a mysterious swarm of
vicious hornets committed the mass murder—but where did they come from,
and how can he stop them? If he is going to unravel this mystery and
save his bees from annihilation, Sidi must venture out into the village
and then brave the big city and beyond in search of answers.
the way, he discovers a country and a people turned upside down by
their new post–Arab Spring reality as Islamic fundamentalists seek to
influence votes any way they can on the eve of the country’s first
democratic elections. To succeed in his quest, and find a glimmer of
hope to protect all that he holds dear, Sidi will have to look further
than he ever imagined.
In this brilliantly accessible modern-day
parable, Yamen Manai uses a masterful blend of humor and drama to reveal
what happens in a country shaken by revolutionary change after the
world stops watching.
Overall, I found The Ardent Swarm enjoyable. I was instantly captivated by Sidi's story as he fought to protect his bees from danger. These bees and their problems were an allegory for the conflict taking place around him, and I could see that in its broadest strokes; however, a reader with greater knowledge of the real-life events might see additional nuances that I missed with only my faint understanding of what took place. So, in reading this book I learnt a little more about life for people post-Arab Spring, along with new facts about the art of beekeeping, making it an educational (as well as entertaining) read. Worth checking out.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.