WINNER OF THE COMMONWEALTH BOOK PRIZE 2013
'I'm Marnie. Too young to smoke, too young to drink, too young to fuck, but who would have stopped me?'
Hazlehurst housing estate, Glasgow, Christmas Eve 2010. Fifteen-year-old Marnie and her little sister Nelly have just finished burying their parents in the back garden. Only Marnie and Nelly know how they got there. Lennie, the old guy next door, has taken a sudden interest in his two young neighbours and is keeping a close eye on them. He soon realises that the girls are all alone, and need his help - or does he need theirs?
As the year ends and another begins, the sisters' friends, their neighbours, and the authorities - not to mention the local drug dealer, who's been sniffing around for their father - gradually start to ask questions. And as one lie leads to another, darker secrets about Marnie's family come to light, making things even more complicated.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, The Death of Bees is an enchanting and grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.
Lisa O'Donnell won the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for her screenplay The Wedding Gift. Recently she took a break from screenwriting when she moved to LA with her two children. The Death of Bees is her first novel.
"Vibrantly imagined novel, by turns hilarious and appalling, it's hard to resist."
"A black comedy, mixing The Ladykillers with Irvine Welsh's The Acid House...O'Donnell adeptly balances caustic humour and compassion.."
"Compelling piece of work... O'Donnell brings a freshness to her narrative, thanks to the brilliantly evoked voices of her two young female protagonists.... Warm without being cosy, explicit without being shocking, and emotive without being schmaltzy, this is a powerful coming-of-age tale with a clear eye for the travails of 21st-century deprived living."
"The Death Of Bees is compelling stuff, engaging the emotions from the first page and quickly becoming almost impossible to put down."
"Channelling the spirit of Joe Orton.O'Donnell cuts black comedy with a big dollop of sentiment.The Death of Bees steadily draws you into its characters' lives."
Financial Times - Adrian Turpin