Book Review: The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer
April 17, 2012 13 Comments
This is a weird (fictional) story of a man who decides to become a hermit. The book tells you how it all happened and what his new life is like.
I enjoyed reading this book. Not a lot happened, but it’s a puzzling story that kept me interested until the end.
The Bee-Loud Glade: What it is about
From the publisher’s website: “The Bee-Loud Glade is the story of Finch, a daydreamer whose job as a marketer of plastic plants consists mostly of updating the blogs of the imaginary people he creates. Once new management steps in and kicks him out, Finch slowly lets go of all ties to the outside world. With both his electricity and motivation shut off, he sinks into a state of oblivion, holed up in his apartment for weeks on end. But when his reply to what he thinks is innocuous spam sweeps him into the world of billionaire Mr. Crane, Finch agrees to live and work—for more money than he’s ever imagined—as an ornamental hermit in a cave on Mr. Crane’s estate.
This darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth thoughtfully probes deep-rooted questions about the nature of man, the workplace, and society (and what happens in their absence). Set in a postmodern pastoral landscape, it brings a playfulness more commonly found in urban fiction to an outdoor setting. With light and engaging prose, Himmer deftly unearths the ironies of life and the futility of escape.”
The Bee-Loud Glade: What I thought
This was a mysterious and fun read. It starts with a naked man who is almost blind, walking around in his vegetable garden and getting lost on the way back to the cave where he lives. He discovers two hikers, the first people he has come across in years, and to his astonishment, they set up a tent near his vegetable garden so they are apparently planning to stay.
Then the book goes back in time and tell us of Finch, who has a job marketing plastic plants, but gets fired when the new manager discovers that he hasn’t really done any useful work for years. Finch is eventually hired by a billionaire to be an ornamental hermit in his garden.
The book keeps going back and forth, telling us about Finch now, and telling us how Finch ended up in his current situation.
Finch’s life as a hermit isn’t very exciting but he’s having a great time. Not doing much useful is just what he is good at. Sometimes his boss, Mr. Crane, leaves him a note asking him to do something new, like swim in the river, take up painting (materials provided), etc. This way, Finch’s life keeps changing a bit, but mostly he has set routines.
I really wanted to know how Finch ended up naked and almost blind, with no suggestion of Mr. Crane still being around. I also was fascinated how someone could enjoy doing close to nothing for a living. The ending doesn’t explain everything but the reader can fill in the blanks quite easily him/herself.
Very well-written, not a moment boring, this book is for anyone who likes good fiction.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I got this book: for review from Atticus Books via Netgalley, ebook
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 192
First published: 2011
Genre: contemporary/literary fiction