Erick Setiawan’s first novel, Of Bees and Mist, is a classic example of magical realism and the modern day fairy tale. Without knowing what to expect, when you begin the novel you believe you are reading a modern fiction tale about a young woman and her very difficult mother-in-law. When the lines begin to blur between reality and fantasy, you realize that you are actually in a magical world, full of curses and madness, where the mists have minds of their own and the bees have the power to turn people against one another.
This novel, like the more ancient classical fairy tales, has beauty mixed with ugliness, violence mixed with warmth, and the trials of the characters are horrific, but in the end, the bad guy always gets what is coming to him.
Meridia is a young woman who grew up in a cold manor full of unspoken secrets, with parents who didn’t speak to one another (and usually not to her, either). At the age of 16, she meets Daniel, a young mind full of spirit and optimism who invites her to be a part of his bustling household by way of marriage. Deeply in love and seduced by the idea of being part of a true family, she takes control of her own life and marries him, moving in with his parents and family to learn the family business and find her place. Unfortunately for Meridia, her mother-in-law, Eva, has ideas of her own about what that place should be.
Meridia quickly realizes that even the most colorful and vibrant of households has it’s secrets and horrors, and thus the journey to escape from Eva’s never ending tyranny begins…This tale is full of love, loss, and the complexity of family relationships.
Readers who love the adult fairy tale genre (or can seriously relate to the struggle against impossible and tyrannical mother-in-laws), will find a rare treat in the pages of this novel. Pick up your copy today at The Boulder Bookstore or The Tattered Cover today!