Having volunteered at a refugee center in Greece, both in the summer of 2016 and in 2017, Christy Lefteri took into her heart the stories of the Syrian and Afghani refugees she met, releasing the root of their plight into the core narrative of her fictional book The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
Throughout her time in the center, the author had recognised that many wanted to relay about their uncertain and dangerous journeys, for people to know, hear, and see the horrors they had themselves lived through.
From there, Lefteri contemplated on what the definition of ‘seeing’ in times of war, escape, refuge, and exile would mean for those that have experienced it and those that had not.
The characters of her book were thus born, a fictional medley of the people she met.
Nuri a beekeeper based on a man she had encountered who had once been a beekeeper in Syria.
That character of Nuri, is married to the character of Afra, an artist, they live in Aleppo, Syria, where Afra tragically became blind, and endures the profound loss of her boy Sami. The couple are driven to take on a the perilous path through Turkey and Greece onto Britain in the hope of escaping the constant warfare and the fear of violence.
During their getaway and exile, the couple project back to sweeter times, as the book moves back and forth in their timeline, whilst the author links each paragraph by either a word that belongs to two different time scopes and thus two different chapters, or by a feeling that was felt in two different time frames and thus two different chapters.
A word, an emotion from the past, into the future and back again.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo, is a moving book, based on events too many have had to endure. Each page, feels like a heartbeat, layers of questions on war, humanity, trauma, memories, glimmers of light, depth of darkness, healing, exile, and understanding the process of these real life notions are sewn into the words that make this poignant book, an important read, which may propel not just empathy and understanding, but a path onto kindness, onto togetherness and onto a global goal to end wars.