Nigerian Beach Horrors: Little Bee
“You live in a world of machines and you dream of things with beating hearts. We dream of machines, because we see where beating hearts have left us.” – Little Bee
Little Bee Quick Summary: A Nigerian girl attempts to escape the horrors of her village, but finds new horrors on a beach where not even a white English couple can completely save her. She haunts their thoughts and remains part of their lives.
3-Sentence Review: You spend part of the book waiting to find out about the horrors on the beach. After you discover what you need to know, you think, well what more is there? Cleave doesn’t hesitate to give you the details you didn’t even think about knowing. Grade: A
Excerpt: But that is the way it is with killers, I suppose. What is the end of all innocence for you is just another Tuesday morning for them, and they walk off back to their planet of death giving no more though to the world of the living than we would give to any other tourist destination: a place to be briefly visited and returned from with souvenirs and a haunting sensation that we could have paid less for them.
Chris Cleave talks about his personal reason for writing the novel:Yes, there was a chance encounter that really shook me up. Around fifteen years ago I was working as a casual labourer over the university summer vacation, and for three days I worked in the canteen of Campsfield House in Oxfordshire. It’s a detention centre for asylum seekers – a prison, if you like, full of people who haven’t committed a crime. I’d been living within ten miles of the place for three years and didn’t even know it existed. The conditions in there were very distressing. I got talking with asylum seekers who’d been through hell and were likely to be sent back to hell. Some of them were beautiful characters and it was deeply upsetting to see how we were treating them. When we imprison the innocent we make them ill, and when we deport them it’s often a death sentence. I knew I had to write about it, because it’s such a dirty secret. And I knew I had to show the unexpected humour of these refugees wherever I could, and to make the book an enjoyable and compelling read – because otherwise people’s eyes would glaze over. (full interview)
On to the next one. Happy reading, y’all.