Berkeley Arts & Letters: CHRIS CLEAVE / LITTLE BEE
It's a thrill to welcome British writer Chris Cleave as he launches his US tour in Berkeley. Cleaves LITTLE BEE, just now in paperback, is an astonishing and unforgettable story; if youve read it, youll want to meet its creator, and if you havent yet read the book and dont know about its author, youll want to join us to learn about both. (Book group members: this is highly recommended for reading and discussion!)
Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past.
They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, in an effort to save their marriage after an affair, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman for two years. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future with the help of Sarah's four-year-old son, Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume. A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.
"An ambitious and fearless gallop from the jungles of Africa via a shocking encounter on a Nigerian beach to the media offices of London and domesticity in leafy suburbia...Cleave immerses the reader in the worlds of his characters with an unshakable confidence." -- The Guardian (UK)
"Besides sharp, witty dialogue, an emotionally charged plot and the vivid characters' ethical struggles, Little Bee delivers a timely challenge to reinvigorate our notions of civilised decency." -- The Independent (UK)
"It would be a disservice to give away the powerful conclusion of this absorbing and gutsy story, which deals convincingly with ethical and personal accountability." -- Oxford Times (UK)
Chris Cleave is a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London. His first novel, Incendiary, was published in twenty countries; won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award; was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize; won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Award; and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007. His second novel, LITTLE BEE, was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Award for Best Novel. He lives in London with his French wife and three mischievous Anglo-French children. He keeps his website at www.chriscleave.com.
7:30 PM at Loper Chapel, FCCB (First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Channing Way at Dana, Berkeley; enter via chapel door from courtyard)
$12 advance (Brown Paper Tickets or 800-838-3006), $15 door
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way at Dana
Berkeley, CA 94704
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|