This is a really good book and I would put it in the category alongside Khaled Hossenin’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Half of A Yellow Sun”.
This story is about Nuri and his wife Afra, who find them themselves seeking asylum in the UK, but before then we follow them on their harrowing and gruelling journey to safety.
Nuri and his cousin Mustafa are part owners in the honey business. Nuri was taught by Mustafa how to tend the bees and they found that he had a natural affinity with them. Where Mustafa is the one to blend and sell the honey, Nuri was the full time beekeeper who tended all of the apiaries along with other workers that they employed, in the fields on the outskirts of Aleppo.
While Nuri worked with the bees his wife Afra painted, she was becoming quite well known artist and she would go to the local bazaars to sell her paintings to the tourists. However things started to change when civil war broke out in Syria. Aleppo became a carcass of bombed out homes and businesses.
His cousin Mustafa sent his wife and daughter away in the hope that they would find asylum in the UK, and he planned to meet up with them there once they had settled in and had been granted asylum.
One day Nuri went to see his cousin but the house was deserted, after looking around the house Nuri noticed that Mustafa had left him a letter explaining why he’d left so suddenly along with enough money for Nuri and Afra to seek passage to the UK.
Before Nuri and Afra left Aleppo they saw some terrible sights. With one particular event making her loose her sight, which was seeing their son die in front of them when a bomb hit their back garden. Afra didn’t want to leave straight away after loosing their son. But when they both had to hide so they wouldn’t be killed while their house was being ransacked and destroyed, they knew then that they had no other choice but to leave.
Their journey to the UK is harrowing, heart breaking and extremely dangerous. With Afra loosing her sight, Nuri had to do everything for her to make sure she stays safe. But with each day that passed Nuri becomes more and more distant from Afra.
During this journey Nuir meets a young boy travelling on his own, so he takes him under his wing making sure that he has food and clothing. Until one day he goes missing while they are at a refugee camp in Greece. Nuri spends weeks looking for the boy before finally realising that they can’t keep waiting for him to return.
Nuri and Afra eventually make it to the UK and start the long process of seeking asylum from war torn Syria. During this time they meet up with Mustafa and his family, where they can all hopefully put their lives back together.
Like I said at the beginning of this review you go through a roller coaster of emotions. If you like books about modern history and a different culture, then I’m sure you will enjoy this book as much as I did.
Pages: 400. Publication Date: 2 May 2019. My Rating: