【 THE ARDENT SWARM 】
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Yamen Manai
Published: February 2021
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Pages: 204 [paperback]
This was an excellent and clever read! I was really curious to pick this up as the blurb described it as “a stirring allegory”, and I couldn’t put it better myself.
What’s it about?
The Ardent Swarm is written by Tunisian-born author Yamen Manai (who lives in France now), and it looks at the turbulent, recent history of a North African village called Nawa.
The main character is a beekeeper and his trials and tribulations of enabling his apiary to thrive and overcome natural and man-made challenges is an excellent metaphor and reflection of the extremist religious challenges his country faces.
Why you should read it
This is one of the most perfectly clever books I’ve read for a while. It’s short and sweet, but it’s so easy to draw the parallels that Manai clearly wants us to make.
The story is beautiful in its simplicity and Sidi is a fantastic, introverted character whose heart is as big as the steppes he must navigate for his water.
This is a great story to read if you want to expand your mind to an approachable way of understanding the difficult social issues often associated with North African and Middle Eastern countries.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone (age appropriate, of course, 14+). Just shy of 200 pages, this is a great story even if you’re not there for the deeper meanings buzzing between the bees’ wings.
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