49-year-old safety inspector-turned-beekeeper Sergey Sergeich, wants little more than to help his bees
collect their pollen in peace.
But Sergey lives in Ukraine, where a lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda has been dragging on for years.
His simple mission on behalf of his bees leads him through some the hottest spots of the ongoing conflict, putting him in contact with combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers, and Crimean Tatars.
Grey Bees is as timely as the author’s Ukraine Diaries were in 2014, but treats the unfolding crisis in a more imaginative way, with a pinch of Kurkov’s signature humour. Who better than Ukraine’s most famous novelist – who writes in Russian – to illuminate and present a balanced portrait of this most bewildering of modern conflicts?