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Honeybee - Book Review

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Published October 27th 2020
Craig Silvey's third novel is worth the wait
It's been a long time between drinks for fans of Australian author Craig Silvey. Eleven years in fact since his best-selling second novel, Jasper Jones, was published way back in 2009. Yet fans will be pleased to learn that the wait is now over with Silvey's third novel, Honeybee, being published in September 2020.

honeybee craig silvey book review
Craig Silvey's third novel, Honeybee

Honeybee, begins with fourteen year old Sam Watson stepping on to a quiet traffic overpass in the middle of the night. Sam climbs over the rail and looks down at the road below, with the intention of jumping to their death. However, when Sam looks across to the other end of the bridge there is an old man. His name is Vic, he is smoking his last cigarette, and he too is intending to end his struggle. The two see each other across the void and their fates are changed forever.

On first hearing this blurb I will admit that I was apprehensive about reading the book. Although I'm a fan of Silvey's I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this novel due to the confronting subject matter which touches on issues such as suicide, gender identity, self-harm, neglect and violence. Yet despite these themes, and no doubt due to the exquisite writing of the author, I absolutely adored this novel.

Although the story is certainly heart-breaking at times, it is also beautiful and skillfully told. For me, the beauty in this novel comes from the relationship between Sam and Vic. Through their chance encounter on the overpass an unlikely friendship blooms, and they subsequently come to know one another, support each other and ultimately try to save each other.

As with Jasper Jones, what stands out immediately is the vividness of the characters that inhabit this novel and the authenticity of their voices - from the narrator Sam, to Sam's neglectful mum and volatile step-father, to the vivacious Aggie and the kindness and compassion of Vic.

The result is a beautiful, life-affirming and optimistic story about the importance of understanding, support and love. I will be keeping a copy close by, on my bookshelf, as I know I will be drawn to read it again and again.

Honeybee was published in September 2020 and is available to order from your local bookstore.

ISBN: 9781760877224
Published by: Allen & Unwin
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Why? An exquisite new novel from an Australian author
When: Published September 2020
Where: Available from your local book store
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