“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” — Warsan Shire

What are you supposed to do when your home is twisted and warped into something you can no longer recognize? How are you supposed to survive in a place that has been reduced to tattered shreds of what it once was? The answer is you can’t. You have to leave. Our latest read takes us through the gutting trek from Syria to England.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

“The Beekeeper of Aleppo” follows the journey of two Syrian refugees as they make their escape to England. Nuri and Afra love their country and didn’t want to leave the home they loved until the violence there murdered their son. After witnessing her son’s death at the hand of a bomb, Afra, an artist, loses her sight. Nuri guides his heartbroken wife out of Syria and he shares the story of how they smuggled themselves to England. Nuri is a gentle soul, a passionate beekeeper who longs for his apiaries and to be reunited with his cousin in England. Readers witness his heartbreaking flight from Syria through his eyes as he jumps to his present efforts to gain asylum in England to his nightmarish trip to and from Greece.

Christy Lefteri’s latest tale examines the obstacles refugees face as they flee to safety while also delicately wrapping devastation with radiantly nuanced nostalgia for a lost home. By exploring how the characters see, Lefteri crafts a poignantly mesmerizing story that provides a much-needed human context to what we read in the headlines. “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” is a lyrical and enchanting tale of perseverance based on the stories Lefteri’s heard when she volunteered with UNICEF at a refugee center in Athens.

From the book jacket…

Nuri is a beekeeper and Afra, his wife, is an artist. Mornings, Nuri rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, Afra sells her colorful landscape paintings at the open-air market. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo — until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home. But escaping Syria will be no easy task: Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to navigate her grief as well as a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece toward an uncertain future in Britain.

In you enjoy…

Readers who found themselves captivated by Nuri and Afra’s flight from Syria might also enjoy Khaled Hosseni’s novel “And The Mountain Echoed.” The book explores how families love and the strength of familial bonds which zigzag across the globe.