THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO
BY CHRISTY LEFTERI
Christy Lefteri’s bestselling ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ is a heart-breaking story of one family’s struggle trying to escape war torn Syria for a better life in the west.
Based on her experience working as a volunteer at a refugee camp in Athens, Lefteri has written a heart-breaking and eye-opening story which personalises the refugee crisis. The Den were all moved by this powerful and honest portrayal of one couple’s struggle to come to terms with trauma and find themselves again.
Nuri works as a beekeeper looking after his friend Mustafa’s apiaries in the mountains of Aleppo. He lives with his artist wife Nuri and their beautiful son Sami leading a happy and fulfilled life until civil war in Syria threatens their stability. Nuri watches those around him flee the war, including Mustafa and his family who head to the UK. But Afra can’t bear to leave and it is not until disaster strikes that they are forced to give up everything and make the dangerous journey west.
Lefteri switches the narrative between the present day in a UK holding camp awaiting asylum and their previous life in Aleppo journeying through Turkey and Greece. As the story unfolds we learn of the heartbreak and suffering they have endured. But at the heart of the story is the damaged relationship between two people, Nuri and Afra - can they find each other again as they confront an uncertain future?
Lefteri touches on the post traumatic stress of the events in Aleppo and gives us an understanding as to why people stop talking about their traumas. Nuri’s love for his job as a beekeeper brings nature and adds depth to the story. Bees are a mystery to most people, they are beautiful and dangerous at the same time and live in their own world, perhaps reflecting Nuri’s state of mind.
If you have already read this, try Christine Lefteri’s latest book, ‘Songbirds.’