Friday, November 12, 2010

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan - Review and Blog Tour

Of Bees and Mist
Of Bees and Mist
Erick Setiawan
Simon and Schuster
404 pgs.

Meridia grew up in a household with a mother who rarely remembers she's alive and a father who wishes he could forget she'd been born.  For the first 16 years of her life she wonders if all families are like this or if there's a chance she might find someone who loves her. In Independence Plaza she finds Daniel and she finally gains her freedom.  When she meets Daniel's parents she notices two things; it's warm in his house and there's no mist hovering outside.  They marry three months later and she moves into their home.  Quickly she realizes that although the Orchard Road house is not surrounded by mist, it's infested with bees.  They aren't present all the time, only when Eva, Daniel's mother, decides she's losing control or not getting enough attention.  The bees are a result of her incessant complaints.  Everyone but Meridia appear to be blind to Eva's fault and Meridia soon becomes an outcast and has to take drastic measures to save her marriage.

My Thoughts
Of Bees and Mist has elements of magical realism as Setiawan gives the mist and the bees human characteristics. Setiawan also incorporates ghosts, spirits and other out-of-this-world beings  Many times Setiawan switched so quickly between fantasy and reality it was hard to follow what was happening.  You also had to be aware of the time change as the author attempted to weave in Meridia's parents past.  I found it a struggle to get through Of Bees and Mist.  I became bogged down in the details as I tried to separate what could be a function of the character's imagination and what was really occurring. My confusion was deepened by my lack of feelings for any of the characters.  I just wasn't interested in what happened to any of them and much of what did seemed like it was there for the shock value.  After crawling through the 400 pages I felt the ending was rushed. I didn't get a sense of resolution and was left with many questions. So many problems were wrapped up neatly and others just ended. 

About the Author
Erick Setiawan was born in 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. A quiet, shy child, he was thankfully raised in a family of gifted storytellers, who taught him that while life might have an endless supply of conflict, not all of it translates into a good story. Due to the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent in Indonesia, his childhood was often fraught with tension, which prompted him to take comfort in books and in the world of his imagination. To traumatize him further, his parents sent him to Catholic schools, where he learned from an early age to feel guilty about everything and that a grown man in a sash and a swishing robe with a ruler in his hand was in no way maternal.

 Several years, two failed novels, and countless short stories later, he decided to quit his job to finish writing Of Bees and Mist. At the time, he had no book deal and knew no one in publishing, but he pursued his passion with the same stubborn resolution/delusion that had motivated him earlier. He sold Of Bees and Mist four years after he started it.

Erick Setiawan - Facebook
Of Bees and Mist - website

Thursday, October 7th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, October 12th: Life…With Books
Wednesday, October 13th: (author interview)
Thursday, October 14th: Books and Things
Tuesday, October 19th: The Whimsical Cottage
Wednesday, October 20th: Literary Feline
Tuesday, October 26th: YA Addicts
Friday, October 29th: See Michelle Read
Monday, November 1st: Missy’s Reads & Reviews
Tuesday, November 2nd: Chaotic Compendiums
Wednesday, November 3rd: Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, November 4th: The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, November 9th: In the Next Room
Wednesday, November 10th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Thursday, November 11th: YA Bookshelf
Monday, November 15th: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Simon and Schuster for this finished copy.


  1. This book sounds interesting but too bad that it didn't do anything for you. Hopefully your next read is better.

  2. The title and the magical realism elements were intriguing. Sorry the story didn't unfold well or come to a satisfying end for all the threads. Wondered if you'd read Mistress of Spices? It's not new, but after reading it I have carried it around in my head as one magical realism story to recommend besides Isabell Allende's books.

  3. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you - I'm really looking forward to reading it myself though. Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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