The Bees – Laline Paull

What a strange book! The writer views bees and their hives as somewhere between an aircraft carrier, a girls boarding school, a nunnery and a private club for lesbians. Everything smells exotically or nastily, there are bizarre hierarchies, bee police and Arthurian, indolent drones lounging around waiting to have their groins licked by admiring females. I kid you not! The heroine, a bee called Flora is an ugly looking bee who begets a queen by the end of the story and has lots of adventures along the way.

In fact, I began to wonder what else could possibly happen to a bee which didn’t happen to good old Flora! If you like that kind of thing there are plenty of uncurling probosces inserted into nectar filled folds and crevices, quivering antennae and pulsing spiracles all included in the erotic world of bees with the queen at the centre. It’s a novel flight of fancy but that’s about it!

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