The Ardent Swarm Will Have Readers Buzzing

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Yamen Manai’s The Ardent Swarm is an accessible yet elegant novel that wraps an immense amount of beauty and complexity into a small package.

In addition to its quaint size (under 200 pages), what initially drew me to this book was its cover. As an avid gardener, I’ve always had affinity for bees and even took an apiculture course in university to check off my science requirement. When I saw this book in the online catalogue, I couldn’t resist – honey yellow and covered in bees. However, as the old adage goes: you can’t judge a book by its cover; and this book is about a lot more than bees.

The Ardent Swarmfollows the story of Sidi, a beekeeper who leads a solitary life on the outskirts of an isolated village in post-Arab Spring Tunisia. While he’s a man of faith, his primary devotion is to “his girls” –…

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