A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings: A Year of Keeping Bees, by Helen Jukes
An inspiring, up-close portrait of tending to a honeybee hive - a year of living dangerously - watching and capturing the wondrous, complex universe of honeybees and learning an altogether different way of being in the world.
A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings begins as the author is entering her thirties and feeling disconnected in her life. Uneasy about her future and struggling to settle into her new house in Oxford with its own small garden, she is brought back to a time of accompanying a friend in London - a beekeeper - on his hive visits. And as a gesture of good fortune for her new life, she is given a colony of honeybees. According to folklore, a colony, freely given, brings good luck, and Helen Jules embarks on a rewarding, perilous journey of becoming a beekeeper.
Jukes writes about what it means to “keep” wild creatures; on how to live alongside beings whose laws and logic are so different from our own . . . She delves into the history of beekeeping and writes about discovering the ancient, haunting, sometimes disturbing relationship between keeper and bee, human and wild thing.
A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings is a book of observation, of the irrepressible wildness of these fascinating creatures, of the ways they seem to evade our categories each time we attempt to define them. A book that shows us how to be alert to the large and small creatures that flit between and among us and that urge us to learn from this vital force so necessary to be continuation of life on planet Earth.
“Evocative . . . affecting . . . Readers will appreciate the candor and inviting openness of Jukes’s voice throughout this winning memoir.” - Publishers Weekly
“So beautifully written, it’s become part of my life. Definitely one of my books of the year.” - Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3