This is a hard book review to write because I don’t want to give too much away. The back of the book actually warns the reader not to reveal the plot once they are done. While honestly, that’s mostly for promotion of the book, it does make sense. The book is written as a sort of mystery. The characters know what happened that one day on the Nigerian beach, but the reader learns bits and pieces until all is finally revealed. Without ruining the mystery, I will try to pique your interest.
Little Bee is a Nigerian girl who meets with an English couple on a Nigerian beach. There, the couple is forced to make a decision that is the beginning of the undoing of their marriage. Through a series of events, Little Bee arrives at the couple’s house in England only to arrive on the day of the English man’s funeral. Author Chris Cleave writes from the perspectives of both Little Bee and the English woman and weaves their stories together. The prose is absolutely wonderful, but don’t let my writing deceive you- this is not a happy book. Many of the events are very horrible and brutal. Cleave’s humor lightens the mood somewhat, but it is decidedly dark.
All in all, it is an excellent read, and one of my current favorites. It’s hard to believe that this is only Cleave’s second book. I’m planning on reading his first book, Incendiary, soon.
As a final note: Little Bee is titled The Other Hand outside of the US.