We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
Little Bee: A Novel | [Chris Cleave]

Little Bee: A Novel

British couple Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke, vacationing on a Nigerian beach in a last-ditch effort to save their faltering marriage, come across Little Bee and her sister, Nigerian refugees fleeing from machete-wielding soldiers intent on clearing the beach. The horrific confrontation that follows changes the lives of everyone involved in unimaginable ways.
Regular Price:$24.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

Little Bee, the protagonist of Chris Cleave's novel of the same name, is a 16-year-old Nigerian refugee seeking asylum in Britain. She is also a born explainer. To the British, she explains the chaos and violence of the hidden oil war that is destroying her country. To the girls back home, an imaginary audience of villagers she doesn't expect to ever see again, she explains commuting, tract houses, and the topless photos in the pages of English newspapers. "To survive, you have to look good or talk good," she tells us early on. She has chosen to talk good, and here we get a dense, quirky, and allusive portrait of London and its suburbs through the eyes of a bright newcomer who has already seen too much.

Little Bee's point of view alternates with that of Sarah, a well-off British woman whose life, until she met Little Bee, was comfortable, if not content. She edited a saucy women's magazine, had a husband and a 4-year-old son, and was carrying on an affair with a suave and self-hating government apparatchik. When her marriage reaches a crisis point, she retreats on holiday to a Nigerian beach with her husband. They're on this beach, in the middle of an oil war that the vacation promoters had failed to mention, when Little Bee runs, terrified, into their lives. The violent confrontation that follows forces them into a reckoning for which none of them is prepared.

Narrator Anne Flosnik gives a halting, deliberate tone to Little Bee's passages and a flustered brittleness to Sarah's. The accents are muddy at times, but Flosnik deftly colors the speech of both women with their different ages and temperaments. Little Bee, in particular, speaks with the heavy confidence of a person who has come a long way to tell a sad story. In this world, says Little Bee, "Nobody likes each other, but everybody likes U2." In Little Bee, globalization has created a wealth of superficial connections but done little to break down barriers. Real connections, when they happen, carry as much risk as reward. —Rosalie Knecht

Publisher's Summary

British couple Andrew and Sarah O'Rourke, vacationing on a Nigerian beach in a last-ditch effort to save their faltering marriage, come across Little Bee and her sister, Nigerian refugees fleeing from machete-wielding soldiers intent on clearing the beach. The horrific confrontation that follows changes the lives of everyone involved in unimaginable ways.

Two years later, Little Bee appears in London on the day of Andrew's funeral and reconnects with Sarah. Sarah is struggling to come to terms with her husband's recent suicide and the stubborn behavior of her four-year-old son, who is convinced that he really is Batman. The tenuous friendship between Sarah and Little Bee that grows, is challenged, and ultimately endures is the heart of this emotional, tense, and often hilarious novel.

Considered by some to be the next Kite Runner, Little Bee is an achingly human story set against the inhuman realities of war-torn Africa. Wrenching tests of friendship and terrible moral dilemmas fuel this irresistible novel.

©2008 Chris Cleave; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Cleave is a nerves-of-steel storyteller of stealthy power, and this is a novel as resplendent and menacing as life itself." (Booklist)
"Every now and then, you come across a character in a book whose personality is so salient and whose story carries such devastating emotional force it's as if she becomes a fixed part of your consciousness. So it is with...Chris Cleave's brilliant and unforgettable Little Bee." (The Oregonian)
"Expect astonishment, for this is a work inspiring in depth and style; a work that alters perceptions." (Bookslut)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1541 )
5 star
 (497)
4 star
 (534)
3 star
 (345)
2 star
 (114)
1 star
 (51)
Overall
3.9 (814 )
5 star
 (298)
4 star
 (260)
3 star
 (175)
2 star
 (56)
1 star
 (25)
Story
4.2 (814 )
5 star
 (398)
4 star
 (252)
3 star
 (110)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (19)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Theresa Corsicana, TX, USA 07-12-09
    Theresa Corsicana, TX, USA 07-12-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Better than first thought"

    I was not able to "get into" the book in the beginning; however,as I read further,I began to recognize how much thatI should appreciate our freedoms, rights, and privileges. The more I read, the more I appreciated my life and saw truthsof the hardships that Little Bee and other characters in the book endured. Although a work of fiction, the reality of life elsewhere was portrayed. I wish it could have ended on a happier note.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pris 01-14-13
    Pris 01-14-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    273
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Something to think about"

    I must have read a recommendation somewhere for Little Bee and I put it on my Audible wish list. However, I never chose it for my "next read". I had often seen the book at the bookstore but unfortunately the cover didn't appeal to me, so I let the book stay on my wish list. I finally decided to download it, and was surprised by how engrossed I got by Little Bee, and watching her young life unfold. I was certainly left with a lot to think about, even after the book ended. Chris Cleave did a wonderful job with the dialog and the narrator was great at performing his words. I would highly recommend this book. I'm really glad that I kept Little Bee on my wish list and eventually chose to read it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    littlesheree 02-20-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "There is no ending"

    I have never been so mad at an author before in my life. The book was interesting but nothing great. The author though decided to end the book at the climax instead of finishing writing it. I don't know if he got bored or just thought it should be the readers job to finish the book. I will not be reading another book by this author.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Washington, DC, United States 08-29-10
    Emily Washington, DC, United States 08-29-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    198
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting Themes - Unsatisfying Characters"

    My review will discuss some plot points that are revealed early on in the book.


    This is the story of Little Bee and Sarah. Little Bee is a 16 year-old Nigerian girl. Sarah is the editor of a British fashion magazine. They first met on a Nigerian beach while Little Bee was running for her life and Sarah was enjoying a sunny vacation, willfully oblivious to the danger outside of the resorts' walls. Sarah made a dramatic sacrifice in an attempt to save Little Bee's life, but she returned to England without knowing what had happened to Little Bee.


    When the novel opens two years later, Little Bee has just been released from an English refugee center. She goes to visit Sarah just as Sarah's husband dies. Sarah and Little Bee decide to help one another move on with their lives. As they do so, the book explores the problems each character faces. Sarah's problems are mostly about relationships and finding meaning in life. How does she navigate her difficult relationship with, and the death of, her husband? How does she parent her son? Can she use her role as a magazine editor to shed light on meaningful issues, or does she need to publish ever more insipid articles to keep her subscribers' attention? Can she make a difference, and does she want to be bothered?


    Little Bee too struggles with the questions of how she wants to live her life and what she owes to the people around her, but she also faces more immediate challenges. She's under constant threat of deportation, which would almost certainly lead to her death.

    Considering the many interesting themes the book addresses, the actual story is surprisingly tedious. Little Bee and Sarah never seem like real people. Sarah is hard to sympathize with. Little Bee often seems overly wise. The narrator speaks slowly, and moves at a particularly painful snail's pace while giving voice to Little Bee. Unfortunately, that leaves plenty of time for the listener to reflect on the unsatisfying aspects of the book

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    g Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-26-13
    g Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-26-13 Member Since 2012

    I am an audio book addict. Love staging the drama in my head, especially psychological intrigue and mysteries.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Little Bee: A little underwhelming"

    The author had a great idea but the story had too many cliches and at times unbelievable or poor logic. However, the narration was excellent.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Washington, DC, United States 02-09-13
    Pat Washington, DC, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tricky ending giving you hope."

    Wow! This story takes you in immediately. The book is about a relationship between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee that has learned how to talk like the Queen and Sarah, a British magazine editor. So many things happen to Little Bee in this book, both horrible and loving. Not every character in this book is likeable, at times the book gets a little to poignant and a few chapters are hard to read as the horribleness is divulged. The ending is tricky and leaves you filled with hope.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs United States 11-04-11
    Mrs United States 11-04-11 Member Since 2011

    New Mum

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want to meet Little Bee"

    Interesting that this is written by a man, with such strong, almost exclusively female characters. This is a great read. For me, an English women, it was authentic and took me back home to London. His descriptions bring it to life. The depth of each character is what really draws you in, and hearing the same story told from two perspectives. I am left wanting to meet this Little Bee.

    The narrator is good, and believable, but more so for Bee than for Sarah.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hiztorybuff Washington 05-31-11
    Hiztorybuff Washington 05-31-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Well worth the credit!"

    Although I read in other reviews that the narrator's voice was annoying,I thought the narrator did an excellent job with the voices. I found this to be a very compelling, realistic, but sad story. The author uses such beautiful descriptive language, and the character development, especially of Sara, Little Bee and Charley ("Batman") are excellent. At it's heart, I think it is a story about women--their inner strength, determination and power. But I also think it is a story of forgiveness and love. While there are men in this story, the men are portrayed as weak and selfish, or mean and powerful. I felt there was never a sense of true happiness in this story, but one of searching and living painful things and dealing with unpleasant life experiences. Although at times I thought I could predict how this book would end, the ending was unexpected, realistic and left me feeling sad and resigned. Bittersweet. One of those books you want to keep listening to and characters you think about long after you've finished.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Longmont, CO, United States 03-06-11
    Joan Longmont, CO, United States 03-06-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Little Dull"

    I just didn't get it. This was a highly recommended book club choice. While the story features important issues for our world, it trivializes them with sophomoric writing and shallow characters.There were moments of perception, and even lovely touches of humor, in the end I felt extremely manipulated and disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-22-10
    Marie Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-22-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Best I've read since The Help!"

    This book is an amazing combination of touching personal stories, unique and surprising humour, biting social commentary and a very realistic portrayal of refugee experience in England. I could not wait to listen to each episode and I laughed and cried throughout the book, an experience much enhanced by the narrator's gift for accents and characters. Until now I thought that my top audible favorites were Shantaram and The Help. I have now added Little Bee as an unforgettable and deeply human story about an increasingly pressing question: what will you do when a vulnerable and suffering human being shows up on your doorstep? And between cultures that have nothing in common, where can we meet, find ways to laugh and learn to love?

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 72 results PREVIOUS1238NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.