New / Hardcover / Pantheon / 2020 / 256 pages
An inspiring, up-close portrait of tending to a honeybee hive—a year of living dangerously—watching and capturing the wondrous, complex universe of honeybees and learning an altogether different way of being in the world.
“As strange, beautiful, and unexpected, as precise and exquisite in its movings as bees in a hive. I loved it.”–Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk
A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings begins as the author is entering her thirties and feeling disconnected in her life. Uneasy about her future and struggling to settle into her new house in Oxford with its own small garden, she is brought back to a time of accompanying a friend in London—a beekeeper—on his hive visits. And as a gesture of good fortune for her new life, she is given a colony of honeybees. According to folklore, a colony, freely given, brings good luck, and Helen Jules embarks on a rewarding, perilous journey of becoming a beekeeper.
Jukes writes about what it means to “keep” wild creatures; on how to live alongside beings whose laws and logic are so different from our own . . . She delves into the history of beekeeping and writes about discovering the ancient, haunting, sometimes disturbing relationship between keeper and bee, human and wild thing.