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  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo

  • A Moving Testament to the Human Spirit
  • Written by: Christy Lefteri
  • Narrated by: Art Malik
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (217 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for Audiobook of the Year - the British Book Awards 2020.

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.

In the midst of war, he found love.

In the midst of darkness, he found courage.

In the midst of tragedy, he found hope.

Nuri is a beekeeper, his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo - until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all - and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face - they must journey to find each other again.

©2019 Christy Lefteri (P)2019 Bonnier Books UK

Critic Reviews

"This is a novel of international significance. Courageous, provocative, haunting, it will open our eyes." (Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

What listeners say about The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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A heartwarming story

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"Home is where your heart is."

But what would happen when you have lost so much that your heart has been shred to million pieces? Will it be possible to mend that heart with love and trust? Can we still find ourselves home after that?

Noorie Abraham was a Beekeeper in Aleppo, Syria. He had led a simple yet beautiful life there with Afra, his wife who was an artist and their 8 year old son Samy, his cousin Mustafa and his family and their large bee colonies. Life was all good, until the civil war that destroyed everything. Afra sees something so terrible that she loses her eyesight after that. From there, their journey towards the unknown starts.

The life of a refugee us unexplainable. One moment you were in your own soil, where you understand the wind, the water and the air. You are in your safe haven. A simple peaceful life. The next moment you are a refugee fleeing from your own home. The home you have loved and that loved you all through your life. That separation itself hurts. Adding to it is the fear of the unknown. Where will you end up ? What would happen of you? And many such questions. As the author mentioned in one of the chapters-

"But how will we know that we have reached the International waters? "You will know because the water will become foreign. It will become unfamiliar."

Lines that beautifully show what the refugees go through.

The author who has worked in refugee camps, has interacted with the refugees had very well depicted their struggle in this book. It's not just the loss and fear of the unknown. It kills their hope, trust and love. The book beautifully depicts the journey of Noorie who in the beginning is hopeless, numb and dreams about murder to a Noorie who finally accepts the reality and hopes for a better future. 

The book also talks about love. The love between a husband and wife that stands strong amidst all the turmoils of life. Even in the catastrophe of their life, Noorie finds simple things-gifts that would uplift Afra's spirit. The love between two brothers who having gone through the same pain, supports and encourages each other to move forward in life. Their understanding at a profound level, and the way they help each other emotionally, being each other's rock, is overwhelming.

The way Afra and Noorie grow to support each other and have each other back is yet another beautiful layer. Afra having seen a terrible loss, becomes blind. It's not just a physical deformity. It symbolises how she have closed her eyes towards everything. She has shut herself from the world that's ruined. She has closed her eyes to life, hope and love. Yet, her love for Noorie is still there. Noorie and his love is her only hope. Afra doesn't speak much or her thoughts are not voiced. But the simple things she does speaks volumes. 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a heartwarming story of Noorie and Afra. As the author herself says, bees represent vulnerability, life and hope. Like a wingless bee, Noorie struggles away from his bee-hive, his safe haven, away from other bees. Still, he fights and finds his footing in a new soil keeping his hope high.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An insight into the life of refugees

People effected by wars have stories scared in their hearts. This book is their mirror!

2 people found this helpful

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An insight into the life of refugees!

The narrator did justice for the story. The trauma in the refugee's life, mental health, struggles and hope for the future is told in a heart-wrenching way.

A mother who lost her child to the war and lost her vision, a Father who is still trying to cope up with the loss of his child and dreams, a friend who is waiting for his family to join them, kids who haven't understood what's happening to them and many more are narrated in this story.

I would recommend listening to it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

great read

a beautiful story of love and loss and the journeys ee take in the outside world as well as inside.

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Touches the soul - sensitive story

This story touched my heart, my soul. The author brings the reality of the flight of the refugees to life through the story of the beekeeper and his wife.
All their fears, their struggles are so poignant.
This is a book that everyone must read.

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amazing narration with an obvious story

Narration was terrific. Loved how he says "Nooo". I wanted more from the story. It became quiet obvious at various places. Overall it was a good read.

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Story of Love & Hope

The book throws light on resilience and strength that refugees gather to live through each day. It discusses the simple yet complicated concept of how inside every person you know, there is a person you do not know.

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heart wrenching story

very well written and narrated. the reader's heart bleeds as art malik narrates the pains of the refugees in the words of Christy lefteri.

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Heart-wrenching story unfolds in constant intensit

Christy and Art both have teamed up beautifully to bring life to the story. the language is simple and gripping in articulating the emotions. The psychology of reacting to immense losses is strongly brought out in the persona of Afra and Noori as well as the Moroccan. The train of hurts and losses and the helplessness on the face of sheer nasty adversity all unfold with intensity of constant tornadoes but the protagonists move on, broken with thousand cuts but still hopeful. Amazing book worth every minute of listen/read.

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Finding hope

I listened to this story on my walks during the pandemic lockdowns . It made a huge impact and brought the horror and inhumanity of the oppressors. Noori and Afra represent the entire world of the refugee. I loved the book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • gerardine lynch
  • 18-02-20

Tears in the rain

As I walked in storm Denis I was not sure whether it was tears or rain falling down my face. Such horrors amid such beauty, I can never consider refugees in the same way again. Behind each lies a life lost and maybe a little hope.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Leonora Watts
  • 30-06-22

A must read book.

Heartwarming and beautiful. I loved every bit and was sorry when it ended. Good narrator.

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  • Emjay
  • 23-06-22

Poignant story

I found this story made me think beyond the tv images of the plights of refugees. I started to think about the loss, sacrifices, and devastation some of these people most face. It expanded my horizon .
I would recommend

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-02-22

Excellent

Moving story, told beautifully. Highly recommended. Insightful and emotional look into the plight of refugees.

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  • Lesley
  • 13-10-21

An eye opener to real reality

I found the story absolutely wonderful! And where the overload of media cover makes you lose the humanness of refugees, this story gives each refugee a face, each is a human being with a spirit of hope or hopelessness and all the other aspects in between.

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  • Janet
  • 09-07-21

Excellent

Brilliantly written and such an insight into the lives of refugees. I enjoyed it immensely, even though there are such sad parts that I will never forget. Although it’s fiction it could so easily be a true story. It’s still a story of love, hope and human strength.

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  • LCCS
  • 06-03-21

Excellent novel

What a moving, heart-wrenching story! Artfully interweaving the past and the present, it kept me enthralled the whole way through. The narrator read beautifully, bringing the characters and the story to life. I highly recommend this book; it will help you to appreciate the terrible experiences refugees face on their quest for a better life.

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  • Belle
  • 25-07-19

Brilliant

One of the best books I’ve ever listened to, heartbreaking yet hopeful, Christy manages to capture horror in events without being graphic and shows how important kindness and love are, it was really interesting listening to her talk at the end about how the book came about. I thought Art’s reading was perfect as it seemed to evoke an almost deer in the headlights description of their journey without truly understanding what was happening from the protagonist when as I listener you can sense the crash about to happen.
It made me angry at the world for not having open boarders and allowing people to trade in others pain and devastation but didn’t leave me feeling bereft although I cried a lot whilst listening to it.

134 people found this helpful

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  • Claris, Grays, Essex
  • 29-06-19

Wonderful!

If there was one book that the world needs to read it's this one.
This book was so moving I cried when it was finished. So absorbing. It gave an insight into the terrible world of refugees and how people become asylum seekers.
Art Malik's performance was brilliant. He became Yuri.

85 people found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 13-08-19

Beautiful Book

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The story was sad but beautiful. The struggle to not only leave your home and country to fight for survival. To take what you can and hope and pray you make it to a better life. This book was a wonderful hope filled read. 100% recommended.

53 people found this helpful

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  • M Golesworthy
  • 13-08-19

Five stars aren't enought

Best book I've resd/listen to in years. So beautifully written and heartbreakingly sad I think it will stay with me forever.

44 people found this helpful

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  • Hattie
  • 20-07-19

Weeping

This is a very special book and I think everyone should read it to gain an insight into the lives of those forced from homes and family in the deepest distress through no fault of their own. It is a beautifully written book, full of empathy and love and I’m tearful even as I write this. I think Art Malik was moved as he read it because I could hear it in his voice. Thank you Christy for revealing these beautiful people to us. Let us open every gate to show them kindness and grace.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Seklof
  • 12-08-19

Fabulous story, beautifully written

I loved this book from start to finish. Heart rendering and beautifully told. and read.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Tracey
  • 25-05-19

Moving, Realistic, Touching...

Moving from the first page. Knowing that it was based on people's real experiences was eye-opening and made every step of this epic journey so realistic with great attention to detail told sympathetically. I have had huge sympathy for these people and all people who have ever had to flee their homeland because of a war they never wanted. The Beekeeper of Aleppo, however, has touched my heart with a great sadness for those who will never be free.
The performance was well suited to the story. Overall five stars for an excellent story.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Greenfly
  • 20-06-19

Wow, what a book!

Eye's open to the plight of exploited fleeing refugees, extremely haunting & a very dark journey in places. How lucky are we in the UK? As Nuri says"Why does everyone laugh when I say we want to go to England". Very topical & narrator Art Malik superb. Everyone should read this book!

31 people found this helpful

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  • Poppy S
  • 21-09-19

Profound & moving

Opened my eyes to the suffering of Syrian (& other) immigrants and changed my perception of them in this country

27 people found this helpful

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  • Rita Horner
  • 24-07-19

Such a moving story!

Really brought home the plight of refugees, their incredible bravery amid great traumas.
A sensitive reading by Art Malik .

27 people found this helpful

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  • H. A. McLeod
  • 03-07-19

Heartfelt story

A wonderfull telling of the hardships refugees experience in their search for a peaceful existence. Poetic and illuminating. I particularly enjoyed Art Malik’s reading of the book.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Jo-Anne Page
  • 31-07-19

A Beautiful Story

The entire book was just amazing, so detailed, so very real, you feel every heartache and every joy.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 21-05-20

A vivid portrayal of the devastation of war and the triumph of love and friendship

This could have been a novel that left you feeling quite hopeless and distressed about the plight of refugees and what they endure, but the characters are so complex, and some show such compassion and acts of kindness (in spite of their treatment) that its a truly uplifting novel. Nuri and Afra exist in a world that is so foreign yet the detail of their existence draws us into their mental and physical landscape they inhabit on their journey to freedom. It’s a sad and tender story about loss, love and belonging,and the author’s work as a volunteer in refugee camps means that she has honoured the refugees with a truly beautiful novel that reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and our capacity for love.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Judith Paulin
  • 12-05-20

A wonderful story of grace and delicacy in the midst of war.

I loved Lefteri’s poetic writing style! She portrayed the main characters with love and sympathy and allowed the reader to care about them and to be immersed in their past, present and hopes for the future!!
Highly recommended!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 04-10-21

How could anyone not be moved by this tale?

This story, beautifully and sensitively told doesn't just hint at the difficulties and realities of Syrian asylum seekers, but using the central character highlights the horrors and damage endured. We follow this protagonist and see how the shattered pieces of his life and those around him are interwoven. The narrator, with gentle graciously articulation is perfect for this audio book. It is a harrowing journey described to the listener... yet imagine living it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • sue
  • 23-07-20

Captivating!

This is a beautiful book and perfectly read by Art Malik. Christy Lefteri is explicit about the horrors that drive a person to flee their country and then life as a refugee without being gratuitous. Through out the book there is hope.
It is a stark reminder of what is happening in the world and at the same time a story of love and courage. It’s marvelous.

3 people found this helpful

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  • salc02
  • 24-11-21

beautifully narrated; powerful storytelling

difficult but important story to hear. clever, poignant use of big metaphors and symbolism. i felt perhaps almost too much, until I listened to the author's commentary, which retrospectively added so much empathy to the characters and their journey. I think this is a must read in today's globally challenged & troubled refugee landscape

2 people found this helpful

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  • Esmeralda
  • 06-08-21

Missed the mark

The characters were difficult to connect with outside of empathy for their situation (as refugees)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-10-22

Humanity and Resilience Against All Odds

This beautiful but terrifying Adults Only tale brought me to tears on a number of occasions.
A war-traumatised couple, the gentle beekeeper and his blinded wife, must find a way to England, though they are stuck in the bleakest of situations. Along the way, your heart will rip wondering over the fate of other innocents and good people pitted against foul opportunists, then battling "red tape" in their quest to find their way out of a living hell via the immigration process.

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