French philosopher Blaise Pascal’s famous aphorism (turned oft-quoted cliché) “the heart has its reasons” is reason enough for Ana and Connor to begin an illicit affair in Sarah Crossan’s first novel for adults.
“Here is the Beehive” isn’t about the ignition of a romance. Crossan spares us the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ tête-à-tête, and the tedious and torturous deliberation about the morality of their entanglement. For three years, in stolen moments — hotel rooms, bars and coffee shops, snatched weekends away, and quickly-deleted texts — they have formed a clandestine relationship. And in these moments, it is perfect, their other lives — spouses, kids, jobs — washed away. This isn’t a sexually-charged fling; genuine emotion pulses through their liaisons. There is love. But it exists in a void, unshared.
The book opens at the end of their relationship. “Here is the Beehive” is about its abrupt termination, when Connor dies suddenly, and the emotional fallout Ana suffers. It’s about the grief inherent when you lose a loved one, and how it can unspool the life you know, made worse for Ana by the fact nobody can know the their ever existed. With Connor gone, it’s like it never happened. So Anna, untethered, self-destructively makes contact with Connor’s widow.
Told in verse, Crossan’s trademark style, Ana’s sincere hopes and foolish naïveté regarding Connor is heartbreaking, her anguish over his death equally so. “Here is the Beehive” is a subversive exploration of the complicated matters of the human heart. Discomforting at times, but absolutely riveting and beautifully told.
Number Of Pages: 288
Available: 1st September 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing