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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 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (71 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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a story about human that I couldn't with

Although the story speaks a great deal about human suffering and the hardships faced by immigrants displaced by war, I did not enjoy the writing.
The narration us good, but the story was just not gripping enough. At times, it went on so slow, that I had to force myself to carry on.

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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.

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Story of sadness and of hope!

feels my heart with sadness but this is a story of hope , love and compassion...

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Simply Beautiful

The Bee Keeper is a simple story narrated specially. it has poignancy and beauty with pathos and tragedy amalgamating into hope and life. It is a soul stirring read with a heart touching ending.

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    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!

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Beautiful!

A very beautiful and moving story.. impressive with the perfect narration. I absolutely enjoyed the experience.

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Loved it

I feel grateful for so many things in my life after listening to this. Thank you

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profound

the story of profound loss and the resilience of life.well written as well as well narrated.

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Beautiful, sensitive story

Written sensitively, in parts repetitive but the story is beautiful. Subtle but powerful. Excellent narration.

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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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

48 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clare, 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.

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

15 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.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 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 .

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

6 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!

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

18 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.

2 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.

2 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.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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!