A Captivating Story of Beekeeping and Survival: Award-Winning Novel ‘Gray Bees’


Andriy Kurkov’s novel “Gray Bees” won the Quebec Booksellers’ Prize in the Novel category. The writer announced this on Facebook. A captivating novel titled “Gray Bees” takes readers on a journey into the life of Serhiy Serhiyovych, a 49-year-old beekeeper in the eastern Ukrainian village of Mala Starohradivka. Set in the midst of the ongoing conflict, the village is situated in the so-called gray zone, where peace is precarious.

The Quest for Honey Untouched by War

“The Quebec Bookstores Prize for the best book of prose in Quebec (Canada) – for The Gray Bees!!!!! The life of the novel and the adventures of the bees continue, as does the list of countries where The Gray Bees is being prepared for publication” – the author wrote on his Facebook page.

The protagonist’s primary concern is the fate of his beloved beehives when spring arrives, as he strives to shield them from the ravages of war. Serhiyovych yearns to relocate them to a tranquil place where the echoes of gunfire won’t taint the honey with the taste of conflict. However, a multitude of challenges awaits both him and his bees on this arduous journey.

“Gray Bees” recognition

Published in 2018, “Gray Bees” garnered recognition. It made its way onto the shortlist for the prestigious BBC Book of the Year in the same year and was subsequently translated into French by Liana Levi in 2022.

The novel continue to elevate its status in the literary world. Notably, “Gray Bees” clinched the National Book Critics Circle Award this year, a testament to its profound impact on readers. Additionally, it received the Gregg Barrios Award for Translation, acknowledging the exceptional work in bringing the story to new audiences. The novel’s inclusion in The New Yorker’s esteemed list of the best books of the year confirms its literary value.

Andriy Kurkov himself has an impressive repertoire of more than two dozen books, with his works translated into 34 languages. His scripts have been used in 18 documentaries and feature films. His talent as a writer and storyteller is captivating readers around the world. “Gray Bees” continues to captivate readers with its poignant narrative and powerful exploration of resilience amidst adversity.

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