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.
 >   > 
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

3.8 (1429 )
5 star
 (445)
4 star
 (503)
3 star
 (324)
2 star
 (109)
1 star
 (48)
Overall
3.9 (714 )
5 star
 (257)
4 star
 (232)
3 star
 (153)
2 star
 (51)
1 star
 (21)
Story
4.2 (714 )
5 star
 (348)
4 star
 (221)
3 star
 (94)
2 star
 (33)
1 star
 (18)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Katerina south hadley, MA, USA 05-16-10
    Katerina south hadley, MA, USA 05-16-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good book, well told"

    I was surprised by this book; it is original, full of suspense and astute psychological insight. "Little bee," the tile, sounds so innocent, but it deals with very adult topics and is not for the faint of heart! I thought the reading by Anne Flosnik was very well done. When I first heard the Nigerain accent, I thought: "oh, no!" but I quicky got used to it and thought the reader did a great job sustaining the characters throughout the novel. Another reviewer said the ending left you hanging, but I beg to differ!

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 03-04-10
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 03-04-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    124
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    328
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Very Original Material"

    A very mult-layered story - with intrigue, sadness, alarm, heart pounding situations; incredibly written and narrated - you would never think that it is a male author -- it is written through the minds of the women, the main characters -- so realistically. Also, you can never guess where the story is going, even in the end there are different interpretations one can have. It is a book, after being read, where you want to do research on the subject, which I plan on as I see some of the other reviewers have done and that is about the oil situation in Nigeria and the UK immigration situation; pretty hideous sounding. How the author was able to get this Little Bee story on paper and get the message through so clearly and loudly, yet in a loving manner, is a real tribute to his writing. Highly recommend.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Snow Hill, MD, United States 02-19-11
    Colleen Snow Hill, MD, United States 02-19-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Beautiful and sad"

    At first, I didn't think I'd like this book if it was going to be filled with lengthy metaphors as in the description of the British pound, but somehow by the time I was asked to agree to view a scar as a thing of beauty, I was hooked. The scenes in this book are so poignant and heart wrenching that I came to see them as beautiful as well. Yes, I cried through much of the book and yes, it might have been nice to have everything tied up with a bow on it at the end of the story but then, I might have felt duped if it had. The writing is lyrical and I enjoyed the narration tremendously. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone with a heart.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 08-21-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 08-21-13 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2327
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    682
    159
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1002
    19
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sweet Sad Story of Loss, Horror and Hope?"

    Other reviewers have summarized the plot, so I'd like to mention that I found this book to be very engaging. The character Little Bee is likable and complex making this book interesting and accessible. This story elicits the reader/listener's emotions throughout; at times I felt both sad and wry, appreciating the author's bittersweet sense of humor. This book has interesting twists that make it quite good. And as others have mentioned, the ending is abrupt leaving the listener/reader wondering what happened to the characters. The narrator is wonderful, she is an asset to the story. I really liked this book, well worth the credit!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lissa San Diego, CA, United States 07-15-10
    Lissa San Diego, CA, United States 07-15-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Intense, emotional and riveting"

    I had no idea what I was getting into when I began listening to this book. I was quickly engaged in the story, which is very well-written,with a highly interesting subject matter and fully developed characters. I didn't care for the narrator at first but I soon became used to her style and ended up liking it quite a bit.Definitely recommended!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-29-11
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2005

    living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    179
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    96
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Totally unexpectedly great"

    The book is a great example of an author using the power of withheld information to create suspense. We read on, wondering why a woman who has just lost her husband to suicide is so emotionally removed. We wonder how she lost her middle finger. We wonder how a Nigerian girl had ended up in a detention center in the U.K. and why she is suddenly released with no papers.

    Another technique that Cleave uses is to expand time when we know that something bad is coming. For example, we already know that Sarah's husband has committed suicide, but the character does not. The police arrive before they can tell her, she jokes and talks on and on as the reader and the police squirm.

    The ending comes a little quickly, but that is my only complaint. Brilliant

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim madison, WI, USA 11-16-09
    Kim madison, WI, USA 11-16-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Little Bee an enormously riveting tale"

    Little Bee is a page turner; the story is unique, moving, and riveting; the narrators are eloquent. An audiobook is the perfect way to experience the power of this novel.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 05-11-09
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 05-11-09 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
    696
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    331
    158
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    279
    6
    Overall
    "Very Good (but why all the secrecy?)"

    Little Bee is a story both sad and hopeful, horrific and funny. It's told in the voices of two women: Little Bee, a 16-year old from Nigeria who, after two years, finds herself "unofficially" discharged from an immigration detention center in southern England; and Sarah O'Rourke, magazine editor, mother, reporter's wife. Among Little Bee's few belongings are Andrew O'Rourke's driver's license and business card. Not knowing anyone in the UK, she decides to head for the address on the driver's license. And thus begins a journey for both women.

    If you've seen Little Bee in print, you know that the dust jacket warns that there are many surprises to come, that the publisher won't spoil them by telling you much, and that you shouldn't tell anyone else either. I didn't see what all the secrecy was about, beyond a marketing ploy. The book is no more "surprising" than many others. Still, Cleave has a wonderfully lyrical style, especially in the character of Little Bee.

    As to the reader, the unvarying cheerfulness apparently intended to represent Little Bee's accent did get a bit monotonous and annoying at times. While that lilting African accent is charming, I doubt that Africans use exactly the same tone and pacing for every emotion they verbally express. Still, overall, this was an engaging book with some important messages.

    29 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Brody Port St. Lucie, FL 05-22-09
    Bonnie Brody Port St. Lucie, FL 05-22-09 Member Since 2005

    Book Lover and Knitter

    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful Novel"

    I loved the book but had some problems with the narration. At times, the narrator sounded like she had spittle in the front of her mouth and this was annoying. On the positive side, her ability to pull off all the accents was amazingly good. I give the book a '5' and the narration a '4'

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP Oakland, CA 09-06-10
    KP Oakland, CA 09-06-10 Member Since 2006

    There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    223
    91
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    3
    Overall
    "good but uneven"

    I thought Little Bee was really beautifully written. There were so many touching and thought provoking analogies and insights. And the story was compelling and powerful. I do think that it was a little bit uneven... some parts left me a little cold and then some parts did seem really unrealistic. ** spoiler alert ** For example, the whole idea of Sarah and Andrew going to Nigeria in the first place and THEN going out on that beach and ignoring the hotel guard who tried to help them? That seemed totally false. And THEN how Sarah goes back at the end of the book and keeps traveling around getting the "stories" and bribing people for protection? Again, I don't think so. A woman who had undergone what she had years before would have learned her lesson! and then the ending! Actually, the whole deportation idea was unnecessary... from then on I thought it spiraled out of control. However, again, the writing saved it AND I did think there were lots of story elements that were really exciting ...more I thought Little Bee was really beautifully written. There were so many touching and thought provoking analogies and insights. And the story was compelling and powerful. I do think that it was a little bit uneven... some parts left me a little cold and then some parts did seem really unrealistic. For example, the whole idea of Sarah and Andrew going to Nigeria in the first place and THEN going out on that beach and ignoring the hotel guard who tried to help them? That seemed totally false. And THEN how Sarah goes back at the end of the book and keeps traveling around getting the "stories" and bribing people for protection? Again, I don't think so. A woman who had undergone what she had years before would have learned her lesson! and then the ending! Actually, the whole deportation idea was unnecessary... from then on I thought it spiraled out of control. However, again, the writing saved it AND I did think there were lots of story elements that were really exciting and it wa

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 69 results PREVIOUS127NEXT

    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.