Review: Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

Sarah Crossan's debut novel for adults is the story of Ana, a lawyer who's affair to her client, Conner, comes to an abrupt end when he passes away suddenly. 

Told completely in verse, Here is the Beehive is a story of loneliness and how Ana begins to grieve for the man that she mistakenly believes is her true love. As well as a meditation on grief, it is one on sexual attraction and selfishness. The author also plays a few clever tricks on the reader. As the novel opens, Ana speaks with Conner's wife, who just happens to be named Rebecca. Her manner, and outlook, it would seem are similar to the title character of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Ana leads the reader to believe that Rebecca has phoned her to punish her for being the other woman. Over time, however, it becomes clear that Rebecca has no knowledge of Ana at all. Just as it becomes clear that Rebecca is a perfectly nice and kind human being, while Conner is not. 

Judgements aside, this is a story about a married woman who mistakes her sexual attraction for another man as love, acts on it, and then finds herself in a dark and lonely place when he passes away. Much has changed within her, but it is not something that she can tell her friends, or her husband. As the story progresses, she searches desperately for someone, anyone she can connect with. 

While I thought this novel was very clever and very compelling, I also have to confess that I wanted to put it down and never pick it up again on a number of occasions. On an emotional level, I found myself very conflicted, feeling disgust for Ana's selfishness and her stupidity, and feeling deeply sorry for the hurt and grief that she experiences. Then again, even though I'm the reader, the story isn't really about what I consider to be right or wrong. The quality of a story like this one hinges on whether or not I can feel some kind of empathy for the main character. And, the reality is, I did. I suspect that this is one of those books that in six months time I'll look back on and think, I'm glad I read that. But for now, the whole thing is still a little uncomfortable.

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