Reply
Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Cover

LOL  It is like seeing things in clouds or the embers of a campfire. :smileyhappy:


thewanderingjew wrote:
 on the lower right hand side of the front cover, next to the spade, there is a flower that looks a bit like a tulip. is it really a swan? i think i am getting carried away.:smileysurprised:
Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 06-01-2009 05:44 PM

 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
Contributor
VeraC
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎03-13-2009

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I expected this book to be a little unique... and that's certainly what it has been so far!  I did think of Harry Potter when I read about the staircase, but I think that it is more like the books written by Sarah Addison Allen: "Garden Spells" and, more recently, "The Sugar Queen."  Her books are a blend of reality and magic, and you are often not sure which is which.

 

Honestly, the more I read of this book, the more questions I have.  Right now, I'm thinking the bees, mist, coldness of the house, etc. are all metaphors of the emotions surrounding the main characters.  But the author may yet surprise me in how "real" the magical elements turn out to be. 

 

A have a different thought about Hannah.  What if she is of the real world, but Meridia and her family are not?  The mirror doesn't show real beings, it is meant to show us something else.  What else?  That's one of my questions...

 

However, my biggest question(s) is this?  Why is it that the three family members are never in the same room at the same time? And why is it that Ravenna and Gabriel were never seen together at Meridia's wedding? 

Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9


 

 

 

Is Bees and Mist what you expected? What novels have you read (if any) that you might compare to it?

 

I was not sure what to expect and when I first started reading it I was a little confused.  But then it started to grow on me when I started to read it as a way that a child's imagination might perceive a stormy household.

 

What do you make of Meridia's nurse in the first chapters? Is she a protective force for Meridia? What was she going to tell Meridia before she vanished?

 

I think the nurse is Meridia's only stability and therfore tries to be protective of her. I think she was going to tell Meridia about her father's affair and her mother's coldness.

 

Why does Meridia disappear in her own house?

 

Children always disappear when there's turmoil. They're like water, they take the path of least resistance!

 

The story of the fight between the mist and the ghost becomes a kind of fable or magical tale depicting the troubles in a marriage. How well does this fantastical fight demonstrate their unhappiness? What happens to Meridia while she watches this? 

 

The mist and the ghost represent her parents and their dealings with one another.  As Meridia watches this she does as any child in a dysfunctional family will do......learn to adapt to them.

 

What are the mists? How does Meridia manage to use them to help her with her project?

 

The mists are the problems and emotions that keep the family apart from the world.  Meridia tries to outsmart and overcome them.

 

Who is Hannah? Why doesn't she show up in the hair dresser's mirror?

 

Hannah is probably Meridia's imaginary friend who allows her to be herself in what she imagines the perfect world to be.

 


 

Frequent Contributor
love2readSZ
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

Thank you for pointing out the objects on the cover.  I guess this is a lesson to me that I should actually take time to look at cover of the book that I am reading.

Frequent Contributor
love2readSZ
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

It also took me a while to feel comfortable with the lack of real setting and timeframe for the book.  I am such a visual person that it was getting in the way of my enjoyment.  By Chapters 5 and 6 I started to lose the need to have the setting and time defined but I still find this a more difficult read because of all of the magic and mysticism.  This is definitely a different type of book than I am used to reading.
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I'm one of those people who are always wondering how a book came about getting its' title. If I can make a connection between the story and the title, it always helps me to commit the plot to memory. So I was very happy to find the connection between the two within the first reading schedule. I put two and two together right away when the mist was described that loomed over the front door. Later, the bees make a few appearances: first they buzzed inches from Daniel's father's face at night, keeping him awake and then later on Meridia is awoken by the sound of them coming from the master bedroom of Daniel's parents' house. I'm believing, so far, that the mists that haunt Meridia's parents' house are there because the two of them are unhappy together. So that makes me wonder then if the bees are present at Daniel's parents' house because they are unhappy too?
April
Inspired Contributor
AnnJE
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

OF BEES AND MIST is nothing like I expected.  I wonder where it is taking place and what time period.  I wonder if these unusual occurrences are normal in this town.  I am thoroughly enjoying it.

The nurse was definitely protective - don't know where she went but Meridia needs her.  Don't know why Meridia disappears in her own house.  Lots going on!!

Lots of questions with no answers yet.

Hannah is her friend but is she make-believe?  Meridia sees her when others don't.

It is a page-turner!!

Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

The book started off a little slow for me.  But as I continued to read, I found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the story.  By the time I reached the end of chapter nine, I did not want to stop.  But I am sticking to the schedule, so I did. 

 

The book is not what I expected it to be, but that is not a bad thing because I don't really know what I was expecting.  I like the fact that the author makes no reference to the place or the time.  I don't think these things are important to the story.

 

As for the mists, I agree with an earlier post that the mists are representing the moods and emotions of the family members.  I also think that the coldness in the house represents the coldness in the relationship between Ravenna and Gabriel.

 

I think Maridia is invisible in the house because her parents don't acknowledge her presence very often.  There are several references in the first nine chapters where Ravenna looks right at Maridia and does not appear to even see her.  At other times she seems surprised to see her in the house.  As for Gabriel, he only see her when she must appear before him each morning.

 

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I love how this book has started.

I like a book that gives so many avenues that the characters can take.

It is great to have gotten this far in a book and not be sure if I will hate it or love it.

Of Bees and Mist has sent me spinning in one direction with the treatment of Meridia and then in another direction with the description of the market.

I think we have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.

I will definitely stick with the schedule. I will have time to absorb this section of the book.

And then be led by the author to more fantasy in this world.

pen21

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9


rkubie wrote:

 

Please use this thread to share your thoughts and questions about these early chapters. 

 

A few question to use as a starting point, if you like: 

 

Is Bees and Mist what you expected? What novels have you read (if any) that you might compare to it?

 

What do you make of Meridia's nurse in the first chapters? Is she a protective force for Meridia? What was she going to tell Meridia before she vanished?

 

Why does Meridia disappear in her own house?

 

The story of the fight between the mist and the ghost becomes a kind of fable or magical tale depicting the troubles in a marriage. How well does this fantastical fight demonstrate their unhappiness? What happens to Meridia while she watches this?

 

What are the mists? How does Meridia manage to use them to help her with her project?

 

Who is Hannah? Why doesn't she show up in the hair dresser's mirror?

 


   Hello Everyone, 

 

  So far I have found the novel to be quite interesting.  It was a little slow in the beginning, but as I read on, the story picked up speed as well intrigue.   I am trying not to compare "Of Bees and Mist" with anything else, because I don't want to find myself distracted while reading and enjoying the novel.  

  I have found this story to have a lot of magical components and I can't wait to see where it is going to take us.  

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
New User
PDM68
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-02-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I felt that the mist became a sign, a forewarning that provided the basis for Ravenna to formulate decisions in their lives.  It's almost as if they both depended on the mist to confirm their hunches to help them cope with what they suspected was the hard reality they faced.  Conversely, Eva seemed to have the bees, an army at her disposal.  She did not have to wait for the mist to foretell the future, she summoned it.  I thought this was a clever way for Setiawan to parallel the bees and mist with the character's personalities.

 

I think Hannah was not visible because she wasn't a real characater.  I think Hannah was Meridia's alter ego; that is, Hannah was the person Meridia secretly yearned to be.

 

Very interesting read.  I think this was a strong first novel for Erick Setiawan.

Patrick McKeon
Inspired Correspondent
bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9


dhaupt wrote:

hookedonbooks09 wrote:

 


 

Oh, wow!  I totally missed the cool things contained in the cover art.  Thanks for bringing that out, and for having a "good eye"!  I guess I was so anxious to start, I didn't stop to consider the cover. 

 

I've just been reading "Sundays at Tiffany's" and wondering if Hannah is someone/thing like Michael in that book.  They are invisible friends for lonely children.  I don't think any mention is made of anyone other than Meridia seeing Hannah.  And like, Michael, Hannah moves on when she is not needed.  With the coming of Daniel into her life, Hannah could leave.

 

--Barb

 

 

Hi Barb, I can totally see the reference to Hannah and Michael from Sundays at Tiffany's.  


 


I can see the similarities between Michael and Hannah.  It may be the same type of idea.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
Contributor
Cata821
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-30-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

Is Bees and Mist what you expected? What novels have you read (if any) that you might compare to it?

The book was not what I expected. It really transported me to a place that was similar to reality but not quite. The whole story really was magical, and I was pleasantly surprised.

 

What do you make of Meridia's nurse in the first chapters? Is she a protective force for Meridia? What was she going to tell Meridia before she vanished?

The nurse seemed to be the realistic force that countered the magic and instability. I think she was going to tell Meridia the key to all the turmoil in the house and family.

 

Why does Meridia disappear in her own house?

Meridia disappears in her own house because she is lost. No one really pays attention to her. For all intents and purposes, once she steps through her door she is ignored and unloved.

 

Who is Hannah? Why doesn't she show up in the hair dresser's mirror?

Hannah is Meridia's friend. She doesn't show up in the hair dresser's mirror because she is Meridia's imaginary friend or a ghost perhaps. I believe she is the part of Meridia that has been neglected and is trying to find a way out into the world.

Frequent Contributor
artist4nature
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎09-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

What a challenging book!!!  So much symbolism!  I love the cover illustration - hints of what to look for as the book progresses!

 

The mists  and cold seem to be related to lack of love in Meridia's home.  The short/or lengthening staircase and the mirrors with no reflection or with visions reminded me of Harry Potter and the castle at Hogwarts.

 

Along with other readers I am trying to picture the place and time period. Still haven't placed it but tending toward the orient.

 

Hannah was an element needed for Meridia to evolve from the sheltered child of the nurse to a young woman.  The new hair style was a catalyst for Merida to see herself and appreciate her good qualities which her father could never admit to.

 

Sure can't wait to get Eric here to find out how we are doing in interpreting this truly amazing novel

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

My first impression of the book was it was like reading something between a fairy tale and an ancient fable. Normally I do not read anything in this genre, but Of Bees and Mist had me hooked from the first page. I instantly found myself wondering where Meridia's tale would take me.

April
Distinguished Correspondent
PiperMurphy
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎09-19-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9


VeraC wrote:

 

A have a different thought about Hannah.  What if she is of the real world, but Meridia and her family are not?  The mirror doesn't show real beings, it is meant to show us something else.  What else?  That's one of my questions...

 


Oh, what a neat idea! What if this all turns out to be Hannah's dream? Or a story that she's reading? Maybe this is like "Alice Through the Looking Glass"?

 

Maybe the mirror reflects all the things that haunt the person, things that they may not be able to identify for themselves.

 

"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
Frequent Contributor
FrankieD
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎12-16-2007

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I read our current chapters this morning while having my chemotherapy meds flowing...which took about 1 1/2 hours. The book had me absorbed within the first few minutes and before I knew it...I was invisible in the chemo room and went unnoticed by the rest of the crowd. Haven't we all had moments...or longer...of "invisiibility" at sometime during our lives...although Meridia's is long-lasting and at regular times.

Oh yeah...the cover was interesting to me as well and all the hidden items caught my eye early on. Lately I've been noticing shapes in things as well...like a face in my bathroom that has pine knots as eyes...and today I even saw a clowns face in the garbage liner in the chemo room while getting my treatment??? Perhaps this has been a side-effect of my meds...but it happens a lot.

So...as I said...this book has me drawn me in already and in some ways I almost feel like I've been living some of it already...but then I come to my senses...sort of!!!

 

                                                     Looking forward to the next section...FrankieD :smileyhappy: 

" The longer I live...the more beautiful life becomes."
- Frank Lloyd Wright
Inspired Contributor
kren250
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎01-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

Bees and Mist is what I expected. Having read Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell (which it was compared to), I knew it would have a strong magical element in it. It also reminds me a bit of House of Spirits by Allende.

 

Meridia's nurse is extremely over-protective, but I think that may be a result of them all living in such a strange house, and with emotionally absent parents. For all intents and purposes, the nurse was more of a mother to Meridia than Ravenna was.  I think she was going to tell Meridia what the meaning of the flash of light was, but Ravenna scared her off.

 

Meridia is so ignored by her parents that it's like she isn't even there.

 

I'm not sure who Hannah is. Maybe a ghost? She didn't show up in the mirror because she's not a "real" person.

 

 

 

 

Distinguished Correspondent
JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

I'm so excited the discussion has finally started! This is definitely not like any book I have read before. I saw some differing opinions on the lack of time & place. For me, I enjoy this aspect. It allows me to let my mind picture whatever it feels fits the story. I don't believe we will ever find out because from what I remember of the description we were give when this book was first introduced, we were told there would be no set place or time told.

 

When I first started I loved it, by chapter 3 I was mesmerized! Then it lost me a little. During the period that Daniel courted her to about when the proposal took place I wasn't quite as taken by the story. The dates & outings with Daniel were just a little too fairytale/storybook like. Every park seemed to be like one of those old carnivals you see in shows with the freak shows & fortune tellers, etc. A little of that is enjoyable but there was so much that it lost me for awhile. The mists didn't catch me either. I'm not one for novels & poetry where you need to interpret the meanings behind something hidden like colored mists. No doubt they stand for feelings in the home between the parents. Once the proposal took place, the story hooked me again.

 

The book isn't quite what I expected. Some of it is, like the relationship between the parents & Meridia for instance. More fantasy then I expected is the biggest surprise. It's sort of like a dark adult fairy take.

 

I have no idea what Nurse was going to tell Meridia before she left & I am very curious to find out the answer. I think Nurse was the only nurturing person in Meridia's life but she was also overprotective and it may be a good thing that she did leave. I wonder if she will return later on?

 

I don't think Hannah is real. The instance where Meridia embraces her but she doesn't show up in the mirror & the strange stares she gets sort of insinuates that she can't be real. Whether she is a ghost or a figment of Meridia's imagination, I'm not sure.

 

I'm interested to see where the book takes us from here.

 

Stephanie

Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters, 1-9

MSaff wrote:

   Hello Everyone, 

 

  So far I have found the novel to be quite interesting.  It was a little slow in the beginning, but as I read on, the story picked up speed as well intrigue.   I am trying not to compare "Of Bees and Mist" with anything else, because I don't want to find myself distracted while reading and enjoying the novel.  

  I have found this story to have a lot of magical components and I can't wait to see where it is going to take us.  

 


Several people are saying that they are finding the book to be off to a slow start. I for one am not finding it to be so with this book. Two previous first looks A Fortunate Age  and Sag Harbor I found both to be slow in getting going.  

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"