Hello 2Bees! Today we are going to recommend reading the book Grey Bees by author Andrey Kurkov. Andrey is one of Ukraine’s foremost novelists. In this wonderful book the writer dramatizes the conflict that has plagued his country for years through the adventures of a well-mannered beekeeper. 

Sergey Sergeich, protagonist, just wants his bees to be ok.  Nearing 50, this safety inspector and now beekeeper hopes to keep them safe.  The problem?  His hives and his beloved bees live in the Gray Zone, which straddles the line in eastern Ukraine that is contested by Russian-backed militias.  So he does what he feels he must: before spring comes and his bees wake up, he loads them into his truck and sets off on a road trip to find an old friend in the hope that his bees will find a place to thrive. .  It’s a charming, quiet story that proceeds against a desolate backdrop of violence, checkpoints, and combat.

Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine’s Grey Zone, the no-man’s-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a rival from his schooldays. With little food and no electricity, under constant threat of bombardment, Sergeyich’s one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich’s childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets. 

With a warm yet political humor, Ukraine’s most famous novelist presents a balanced and illuminating portrait of modern conflict.

From 2BEE we send a message of support to the people of Ukraine in these difficult times 😔🙏

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