A Recipe for Bees: A Novel

A Recipe for Bees: A Novel

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0385720483

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Gail Anderson-Dargatz's evocative novel of one woman's simple but passionately lived life reminds of us of the pleasure to be found in human contact and simple, natural things.

Raised by her silent but companionable father and a mother who kept bees, headstrong Augusta marries shy, deferential Karl, twelve years her senior, and goes to live with him on his father's remote farm. Terrified that she will literally die from loneliness and isolation, she finds work in town, and for a short time, fulfillment with another man in a romance that will reverberate throughout her life. Not until many years later does she find her salvation in beekeeping, the practice she first learned from her mother. It is beekeeping that reconnects her to the world and at long last brings fire to her steadfast marriage.

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confusion, after reaching the answering machine. When she first heard that rotary dial she wondered briefly if there hadn’t been some accident in time, if someone from the past was dialling into her present to leave a message on her machine. But that was just a flight of fancy. If Ernest were from the past, why would his name appear on her call display? Ernest was ancient; his voice was cracked and faded, and his mind was slipping on him. He was trying to phone someone else when he phoned

brought Pete to the house to introduce him, Augusta didn’t want to shake his hand. The Indians had sicknesses, didn’t they? She wiped her hands on her apron when he offered his hand, refusing him, and mumbled that she’d been baking bread, that her hands weren’t clean. But he could see as soon as Karl invited him in for coffee that she hadn’t been making bread; she’d been cleaning up the breakfast dishes. “I don’t want you bringing the hired hands to the house,” she told Karl, after Pete had left.

sake.” Augusta felt the anger flare up. “The baby was his.” It was a lie. Manny had hired Harry Jacob for another summer after his son’s death, though Harry’s woman and Alice never came back with him. Harry Jacob was a hard worker, practised at working alone, unsupervised. Manny could leave him, even during haying, and catch a Saturday morning of fishing if he wished. But Manny wouldn’t have him in the house, not with sickness raging through the reserve. So Helen took meals out to Harry’s tent

cheek. “Don’t worry,” he whispered. “It’ll all blow over.” He turned and walked out without saying goodbye, though he stopped at the doorway and glanced back at her briefly. She spent the rest of that week in the ward with nothing to do except brood over the dream—or vision or hallucination—that she had had in the recovery room. She came to doubt she’d heard anything at all. Augusta and Rose cleared away the lunch dishes. “Karl,” she said, “do you remember me telling you my father was going to

it,” he said. “Well, she’s dead, isn’t she?” It was a stupid thing to say and she wanted to pull the words back and swallow them, but there they were, in the air between them. He didn’t say anything for a time. Finally, when she took a step forward to pour herself coffee, he said, “Well, if you’re not going to school, you’re sure as hell going to get to work around here.” “I won’t do any more farm work than I’m already doing. I spend all my time here. I never get out. I’ll get a job.” “What

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