Sunday, November 8, 2015

Book review: Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez

Publisher:  Vintage Books 
first edition:  July 2001

back cover blurb:  Day of the Bees celebrates passion and creativity as it explores the lives of a famous painter, Zermano, and his beautiful muse Louise during World War II. A novel of obsession, art, and war, it reveals the sacrifices made for love--of person and country.

An American art historian is seeking to discover why the painter abandoned Louise during the war. Visiting Provence after Louise's death, the scholar finds letters that piece together a tempestuous affair with startling revelations about her wartime experiences--her participation in the French Resistance, her struggles to elude a sadistic officer, and her intimacy with a mystical beekeeper. Spanning a panoramic landscape of fifty years, Day of the Bees is a haunting and lyrical portrait of the complex emotional chasms that can separate even the greatest of loves.

The opening chapters read like a tour guide's introduction to a foreign land.  

A pleasure to read...
Most of the story is told in letters. They convey secrets an artist shares with his muse--the longings, the dangers, the history, the passion. This is a quick compelling read. It an ideal book to escort you on your commute to and from work. 

Writing tip...
Letters are such a clever writing device. Through them you can get deep inside your character and also pull back to report on the actions of other characters.

To love takes courage. It leaves one vulnerable to a brutal world and yet it also offers protection and gives you strength. 

How many men have gone into how many women and felt another man there? (p. 231)
Heaven has no value unless hell exists. (p. 279) 

(my dad in uniform circa 1940s)

Please click this link 
Remembering Them on Remembrance Day
to read the article I published on this blog last year

From the Heart is an uplifting book. Proceeds support needy and deserving High School students. To order, email Gary Doi (