The Bee-Loud Glade will make you fall in love with the simplicity of nature. It is a story about returning and integrating one’s self into nature—true Walden style. The ability of Steve Himmer to create a longing for nature via the words and storyline in this story is phenomenal. I, personally, have never felt a calling or inclination towards nature. After reading this novel, I feel like becoming a hermit and simply reveling in the beauty of nature would be an amazing life.
The Bee-Loud Glade is a story about a man, Mr. Finch, who works at Second Nature, a plastic plant company. At Second Nature, Finch gives the company press through twelve fake blogs he runs. Essentially, Finch lives vicariously through these fake people. He creates entire families for them, fake jobs, and even kills one of them off. But, when he gets fired, he loses his “life.” He no longer can live through his created bloggers. He doesn’t know what to do with himself, and he spends days and months alone until he answers an email, seeming to be spam, and lands himself a job working for Mr. Crane, a billionaire. Mr. Crane hires him to be a hermit in his garden, giving him millions of dollars to live off of the land and to integrate himself into nature. Most of this information is told in flashbacks. At the present, Mr. Finch is old, nearly blind, but incredibly happy and fulfilled living in the garden.
This novel analyzes how man and nature should reflect and interact with each other. Beautiful imagery, such as when Finch notices how mushrooms grow, emphasizes this idea:
I watched them for an hour or two, maybe longer, trying to imagine the way they might think. They didn’t move much, but I’m fairly sure I saw one of them move… A few months earlier I might not have noticed the mushroom growing, but I’d become attuned to a slow moving world.
The idea that humanity is just too busy and too fast to notice how the world revolves and how nature continues to change daily, is breathtaking within this novel. It trumpets out a call of nature that will hit many people at the core of their being, trying to tell them how much they are truly missing in their lives.
The writing style of this book sparks beautiful imagery within the mind and pulls the reader along with the story. It feels cool, refreshing, and unique in its modus operandi. Himmer truly knows the art of writing, but what really astounded me as a reader was how Himmer creates the world from a blind man’s eyes (as we experience half of the story from the older version of Mr. Finch, who is blind). The thought and imagination that must have gone behind creating a seamless world without using sight as the prime recognition tool is amazing.
If you want to fall in love with nature (either for the first time or the hundredth), then this book will open your eyes to everything you have been missing. This book isn’t something that I have been able to get out of my mind. It makes me question ideas of necessity and want. This is the kind of book that will change how you view the world.