Sunday 2 June 2024

Book Review: Honey Hunger by Zahran Alqasmi (Contemporary Fiction)

Honey Hunger
Zahran Alqasmi
4 February 2025
256 pages
eBook - PDF
Contemporary Fiction
ARC via Edelweiss

A breathtaking novel of longing, uncertainty, and ultimately of hope, written by an International Prize for Arabic Fiction-winning author and an International Booker-prize winning translator.

Azzan is a beekeeper in a rural community in Oman. Devoted to tending his bees and searching for wild hives, he encounters Thamna, a lone shepherd woman, on a mountain slope and is captivated by her and her honey-colored eyes. Across the breathtaking vistas of Oman’s remote mountains and plains, Azzan’s troubled past and present unfold. A disappointment to his family, he turns to drink, and ultimately discovers the healing power of his beekeeping, before an accident in which he loses all. Zahran Alqasmi’s masterful novel thrums forward with a subtle momentum. His lucid, poetic writing conveys a visceral sense of time and place, of the fragile ecologies inhabited by both bees and humans alike, in this intense and compelling novel of loss and hope. 

Honey Hunger was an lyrical, atmospheric read that had a strong sense of place and feeling throughout. I knew exactly nothing about Oman before I started reading, but by the end I felt I had a good image in my mind of its rural landscape and those who inhabit it. It was fascinating to read about Azzan's world and follow his adventures and difficulties. The pacing slowed a little in the middle of the book and my attention briefly wavered, but it was caught again as we moved towards the finale. Overall, it was an interesting story about disappointments, hopes and wishes, and I am giving it four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment