Wednesday 12 July 2023

Book Review: Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Onda Riku (Literary Fiction)

Title: Honeybees and Distant Thunder
Author: Onda Riku
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 4 May 2023 (2016)
Pages: 360
Format: Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Bought Copy

In a small coastal town just a stone's throw from Tokyo, a prestigious piano competition is underway. Over the course of two feverish weeks, three students will experience some of the most joyous - and painful - moments of their lives. Though they don't know it yet, each will profoundly and unpredictably change the others, for ever.

Aya was a piano genius, until she ran away from the stage and vanished; will the tall and talented Makun bring her back? Or will it be child of nature, Jin, a pianist without a piano, who carries the sound of his father's bees wherever he goes? Each of them will break the rules, awe their fans and push themselves to the brink. But at what cost?

Tender, cruel, compelling,
Honeybees and Distant Thunder is the unflinching story of love, courage and rivalry. Most of all, it shows how three young people reconcile with the highs and lows of what it means to truly be a friend.


Honeybees and Distant Thunder was a truly delightful read. From the start, I got caught up in the characters and events, and it was clear from the information provided in the prose that the author is well versed in music herself. This was a thoughtful presentation of life as a competition pianist that also dwelt deeply on the nature of music and the different ways it can be both performed and perceived. It also looked at the idea of friendship and the effect those around us can have upon our lives and experiences. This is a work that will please any literary fiction lover but it will resonate especially well with musicians or those who love music. It is a work that I believe will offer something new upon each new reading, and it's certainly one I will be keeping on my shelves. I am giving it 5 stars.

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