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Graue Bienen
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Grey Bees

Published by Diogenes as Graue Bienen
Original Title: Serye pchely

When honey tastes of war.

Grey Bees is a novel about a war that has almost been forgotten, a novel full of atmosphere and wisdom, which forces the reader to slow down, reminding him of what matters most: preserving the integrity of nature.

Beekeeper Sergey lives in Donbass, where Ukrainian fighters and pro-Russian separatists exchange gunfire on a daily basis. He survives by following the motto: Hear nothing, see nothing – stay out of it. His only concern is the well-being of his bees. Because the bees’ world continues to be ruled by intelligent order and wonderful productivity while mankind wreaks havoc. One spring, he sets off: He wants to bring the bees to a region where they can collect nectar in peace.


General Fiction
448 pages
2019

978-3-257-07082-8

World rights are handled by Diogenes
(except Russian and Ukrainian rights)

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»At the same time poetic and poignant.«

Gala, Hamburg

»With the novel Grey Bees, the author Andrej Kurkow has once again achieved a resounding success.«

Peter Budig / Nürnberger Nachrichten

»Andrej Kurkow’s novel illustrates the life of a civil society that lives in a war without being at war themselves.«

Simona Pinwinkler / Salzburger Nachrichten

»Kurkow tells Sergej’s story in a predominantly light and humorous tone, but frequently interweaves grotesque scenes of destruction.«

Gisela Erbslöh / SWR2, Baden-Baden

»With Grey Bees, Andrej Kurkow has produced a sharply-drawn picture of the festering conflict in the Ukraine, one from which the rest of Europe has long since averted its gaze.«

Sigrid Löffler / Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Cologne

»It is highly impressive how Andrej Kurkow manages to create a melancholic mood in his tale of the happiness seeker Sergej without descending into pathos.«

Terrance Albrecht / WDR 5, Cologne

»Like Norbert Scheuer’s Winter Bees, this is far more than just another book about bees – and it is Kurkow’s strongest work yet.«

Mathias Schnitzler / Berliner Zeitung

»Kurkow tells the oppressive story of the everyday of war in Eastern Ukraine with a quiet and poetic language.«

Céline Graf / Der Bund, Berne

»This time, the Ukrainian author of Death and the Penguin, known for his brilliantly dark humour, has written a modern-day odyssey, with a return that is ambiguously hopeful.«

India Lewis / The Arts Desk, London

»In spare prose, Ukraine's most famous novelist unsparingly examines the inhuman confusions of our modern times and the longing of the warm-hearted everyman that is Sergeyich for the rationality of the natural world.«

John Thornhill / Financial Times, London

»Grey Bees is as timely as the author's Ukraine Diaries were in 2014, but treats the unfolding crisis in a more imaginative way, with a pinch of Kurkov's signature humour.«

fantasticfiction.com

»Kurkow distils a happy desperation, a form of surreal pantheism that places him geographically, like his country, between Russian romanticism and Scandinavian fatalism, between Chekhov and Paasilinna, Gogol and Hamsun.«

Frederic Beigbeder / Le Figaro, Paris

»In his book, the writer paints the ›grey zone‹ on the frontline with great humanity.«

Isabelle Mandraud / Le Monde, Paris

»This book lingers in the details, and every detail bears significant power.«

Kalani Pickhart / Electric Literature, New York

»And this one is actually kind of a sweet simple story, but in a way that’s deceptively so. You watch someone’s sweetness be pushed to its limits.«

Jennifer Wilson / New York Times Book Review, New York

»May more novels follow.«

Anna Reid / The Independent, Dublin

»Grey Bees is a gentle, sometimes ambivalent book about a conflict that had its share of moral complexity.«

The New Yorker, New York

»And this one is actually kind of a sweet simple story, but in a way that’s deceptively so. You watch someone’s sweetness be pushed to its limits.«

The New York Times Book Review, New York

»At the same time poetic and poignant.«

Gala, Hamburg

»With the novel Grey Bees, the author Andrej Kurkow has once again achieved a resounding success.«

Peter Budig / Nürnberger Nachrichten

»Andrej Kurkow’s novel illustrates the life of a civil society that lives in a war without being at war themselves.«

Simona Pinwinkler / Salzburger Nachrichten

»Kurkow tells Sergej’s story in a predominantly light and humorous tone, but frequently interweaves grotesque scenes of destruction.«

Gisela Erbslöh / SWR2, Baden-Baden

»With Grey Bees, Andrej Kurkow has produced a sharply-drawn picture of the festering conflict in the Ukraine, one from which the rest of Europe has long since averted its gaze.«

Sigrid Löffler / Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Cologne

»It is highly impressive how Andrej Kurkow manages to create a melancholic mood in his tale of the happiness seeker Sergej without descending into pathos.«

Terrance Albrecht / WDR 5, Cologne

»Like Norbert Scheuer’s Winter Bees, this is far more than just another book about bees – and it is Kurkow’s strongest work yet.«

Mathias Schnitzler / Berliner Zeitung

»Kurkow tells the oppressive story of the everyday of war in Eastern Ukraine with a quiet and poetic language.«

Céline Graf / Der Bund, Berne

»This time, the Ukrainian author of Death and the Penguin, known for his brilliantly dark humour, has written a modern-day odyssey, with a return that is ambiguously hopeful.«

India Lewis / The Arts Desk, London

»In spare prose, Ukraine's most famous novelist unsparingly examines the inhuman confusions of our modern times and the longing of the warm-hearted everyman that is Sergeyich for the rationality of the natural world.«

John Thornhill / Financial Times, London

»Grey Bees is as timely as the author's Ukraine Diaries were in 2014, but treats the unfolding crisis in a more imaginative way, with a pinch of Kurkov's signature humour.«

fantasticfiction.com

»Kurkow distils a happy desperation, a form of surreal pantheism that places him geographically, like his country, between Russian romanticism and Scandinavian fatalism, between Chekhov and Paasilinna, Gogol and Hamsun.«

Frederic Beigbeder / Le Figaro, Paris

»In his book, the writer paints the ›grey zone‹ on the frontline with great humanity.«

Isabelle Mandraud / Le Monde, Paris

»This book lingers in the details, and every detail bears significant power.«

Kalani Pickhart / Electric Literature, New York

»And this one is actually kind of a sweet simple story, but in a way that’s deceptively so. You watch someone’s sweetness be pushed to its limits.«

Jennifer Wilson / New York Times Book Review, New York

»May more novels follow.«

Anna Reid / The Independent, Dublin

»Grey Bees is a gentle, sometimes ambivalent book about a conflict that had its share of moral complexity.«

The New Yorker, New York

»And this one is actually kind of a sweet simple story, but in a way that’s deceptively so. You watch someone’s sweetness be pushed to its limits.«

The New York Times Book Review, New York
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