A Cemetery for Bees
Alina DumitrescuKatia Grubisic
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This autobiographical novel traces a woman's journey from her youth in Socialist Eastern Europe to her transplanted life in Montreal, Canada. She is a precocious, thoughtful child, whose early life in Romania is marked by the scarcities of the time and the political games needed to survive, but she is not unhappy. Placed around her family’s house are hives—the bees discourage the secret police from visiting too often—and the bees provide both a childish diversion and an overarching metaphor for departure and home.
An elegant, candid book, A Cemetery for Bees is an elegy for childhood, a declaration of francophile love, and a complicated look at who we are, who we were, and where we might find ourselves.
Alina Dumitrescu was born in the former Socialist Republic of Romania, and emigrated to Montréal in 1988, shortly before the fall of the Ceausescu regime. Her schooling was not recognized in her adoptive country, and she undertook CEGEP and university studies in Québec. She began publishing poetry and short fiction in French in the 1990s. Le cimetière des abeilles was published by Triptyque in 2016, and was a finalist at the Festival du premier roman de Chambéry and won the Blue Metropolis/Conseil des arts de Montréal Diversity Prize.
Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor, and translator. She was coordinator of the Atwater Poetry Project reading series, and was a founding member of the editorial board for the Icehouse Poetry imprint at Goose Lane Editions. Her own work has appeared in various Canadian and international publications. She has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for translation, and her collection of poems What if red ran out won the Gerald Lampert award for best first book.