Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Beekeeper of Aleppo


This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the ...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide

Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Created: 06/17/20

Replies: 14

Posted Jun. 17, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is inspired by the author's experience volunteering at a refugee center in Athens, Greece. Why do you think she decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?


Posted Jun. 26, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 356

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

The decision to write the story as fiction allowed the author to approach the emotional aspects of the refugee experience more directly and with more freedom. A nonfiction approach would have limited her to what she could glean from specific research and would not have allowed her to composite characters or experiences. I thought she did a particularly good job of using a limited number of characters to show a breadth of experiences and reactions, and I'm not sure she could have achieved what she did with Nuri, Afra, and Mohammed if she had had to find specific exemplars for the variety of issues she addressed. Discovering her personal experience in the refugee camps increased her credibility in telling these stories considerably for me.


Posted Jun. 26, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 174

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Fiction allowed the author to incorporate many refugee experiences in one story. It offered her a way to express and explore her own experiences working with refugees. I think a nonfiction book would not have been as cathartic as fictionalizing the stories she had heard. Plus, people's real lives are deep and complex. They have no end until the final one. It is much harder to capture a person's story and do it justice in a nonfiction book. It can be done, but it's messier and more difficult to wrangle into story format, with a clear beginning, middle and end. By taking what she had learned from the camps and creating characters as representatives, the author was free to explore and expose the dangers and losses and tragedy on a more intimate scale. I loved learning that her work was inspired by real life.


Posted Jun. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 292

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I have to agree with both of you. Does anyone think that maybe the author would reach a wider audience if she wrote her story as fictional?


Posted Jun. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Renem - That's a really good point. I think you're probably right about that, that there are more fiction readers than non-fiction readers. (Just a gut feel; I have no evidence to back that up.) Certainly it's easier to evoke an emotional response from fiction readers (again, I think; no evidence).


Posted Jun. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ChloesMom

Join Date: 05/10/15

Posts: 17

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I think it gave her more liberty. Flesh out characters to give the story more humanness.


Posted Jun. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
momo

Join Date: 04/03/19

Posts: 49

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject just gave her writing and stories more credibility. I think writing the story as fiction allowed her to incorporate more stories into one book. Like others have stated, it gave her the ability to write more freely, using both people's stories and her own feelings in the book.


Posted Jun. 28, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 356

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I think you are correct, renem -- fiction seems to have a broader appeal, and people expect nonfiction to be drier and more impersonal. I'm more likely to pick up a piece of fiction on the refugee crisis in Europe -- and I love narrative nonfiction.


Posted Jun. 29, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ireneh

Join Date: 11/22/19

Posts: 31

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

The power of fiction is that it allows the reader to suspend disbelief and "fall" into the narrative without fact-checking or examination of previous feelings about the topic. One can enter a world totally different from one's own and journey with the characters to the exterior and interior spaces of their minds.
In the case of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the reader can join in the emotional experiences, the dreams, and the imaginations of each of the characters. The strength of Lefteri's approach is that we can drift from the internal struggles and memories of Nuri and Afra to the realities of the refugee experience. We can form opinions about the politics which torture them while also aching for their internal pain and wishing for a better life for them as they seek safety.
Each character becomes a friend in fiction, encouraging the reader to know him/her better as the book progresses. In that search, we find feelings in ourselves which prompt us to think more deeply and feel more immediately about the general situation of Syrian refugees while focusing on the personal and painful impact of human cruelty on innocent individuals.


Posted Jun. 30, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JustSP

Join Date: 06/30/20

Posts: 9

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Fiction allows the writer and the reader to go deeper into emotions, play with inner dialogue and dream. I love fiction for that fact alone.


Posted Jul. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 169

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Writing it as a fiction story gives it so much more depth because she could use several different characters and their experiences to share the story of what it is like to be a refugee. It can be written more on emotion than worrying about facts being correct. Although I do think i the author was concerned about passing along factual information in this case, but the raw emotion was definitely shown through her composite characters of Afra and Nuri


Posted Jul. 01, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
neldab

Join Date: 07/01/20

Posts: 4

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

Often fiction can carry more emotion than a non-fiction second person accounting. Lefteri was able to use her experiences in helping refuges when writing this. She would not have had the ability to follow one family through the immigrant process and hearing one person's story is what makes an impact.


Posted Jul. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MimiJo

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 29

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I was so impressed by Lefteri's personal experience with immigrants and it made the book mean so much more. Using fiction, she could incorporate many people into one character, have immigrants from other countries traveling with Nuri and Afra. The use of different languages and dialects were also added to a fictionalized account. I was sometimes amazed at how they could understand each other, but that is the language of people.


Posted Jul. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 160

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I agree with just about everybody here. Likely, Lefteri's experiences gave her the building blocks for this powerful story. But writing it as fiction rather than non-fiction allowed her to use emotions to connect the reader to the characters. An emotional response to stories is what makes those stories so powerful.


Posted Jul. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 381

RE: Why do you think Lefteri decided to write this story as fiction rather than nonfiction? Did discovering Lefteri had personal experience with the subject matter change the way you viewed the book?

I am thinking about some of the conversation that was taking place about American Dirt when it came out (this may have even been a part of the BookBrowse discussion) as I answer this question. Jeanine Cummins chose a middle class mother as her main character. This allowed readers far removed from the situation to more easily put themselves in her place and possibly feel more empathy for migrants and the choices they make.

I think Lefteri's choice of fiction is due to a similar reason. Nuri and Afra were middle class parents trying to survive in the midst of a never-ending civil war. They lost their livelihood, their son, their home, their sight, and their mental well being. I have more in common with them in many ways which allows me to more easily imagine what I would do if I found myself in their situation. I am able to feel their pain and sadness, fear and uncertainty. Lefteri gives me a different picture in my mind of whom is fleeing Syria than has been presented by the media.

If a reader has an emotional reaction, he/she may feel empowered to attend a protest, donate money, or write letters to Congress about how the U.S. is responding to the crisis.


Reply

Please login to post a response.