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Bee Season: A Novel | [Myla Goldberg]

Bee Season: A Novel

Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable 9-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness.
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Publisher's Summary

Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable 9-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.

Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg's first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.

©2000 Myla Goldberg; (P)2001 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2001

"Goldberg strikes new ground here, and displays a fresh, distinctive and totally winning voice." (Publishers Weekly)
"There is something of Holden Caulfield in Eliza, the same crazed determination to save her loved ones from themselves. An impressive debut from a remarkably talented writer." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (260 )
5 star
 (89)
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2 star
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4.0 (67 )
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Story
4.0 (70 )
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Performance
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  •  
    03-16-06
    03-16-06 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    1
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    Overall
    "Very Long...."

    I was enthusiastic when I read the description for this book, but very disappointed by the time I was half way into it. Her exceptional descriptive power just went on too long and I just wanted her "get on with it!" I was very disappointed in the book and not happy with the ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Chicago, IL, USA 02-22-06
    Jeremy Chicago, IL, USA 02-22-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "worst.narration.ever"

    This author needs to realize that she's not a professional narrator for a reason--her voice is extremely annoying and her manner of reading drove me insane. I was too distracted by the sound of her voice to enjoy what was probably a decent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorie Haverhill, MA, USA 02-21-06
    Lorie Haverhill, MA, USA 02-21-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    121
    9
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "sad but interesting"

    This is an odd little story about a seemingly normal family that is really anything but normal. Not a tear jerker but certainly not uplifting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Astoria, OR, USA 02-19-06
    Thomas Astoria, OR, USA 02-19-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    "Not Just a Spelling Bee"

    The characters and the storyline are suprisingly complex in this slice-of-life novel, based on the individual tribulations of the Naumann family. Nobody thinks youngest child Eliza is anything more than ordinary...but she discovers a talent that could bind the family together when all looks lost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan jefferson, OH, USA 02-09-06
    Susan jefferson, OH, USA 02-09-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Kept me on my bike"

    I ride my bike while listening to books, and there were several days when I rode extra miles just to listen to this. Not at all what I expected, but a pleasant departure from the typical.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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