"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I
am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
Neither of them were beloved."
Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now.
Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and
Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's
Maryhill housing estate isn't grand, the girls do have each
other. Besides, it's only a year until Marnie will be
considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.
As the New Year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next
door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need
his help. Or does he need theirs? Lennie takes them in—
feeds them, clothes them, protects them—and something like
a family forms. But soon enough, the sisters' friends,
their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher
questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about
the girls' family surface, creating complications that
threaten to tear them apart.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, told
in alternating voices, The Death of Bees is an enchanting,
grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer
for themselves, can answer only for one another.