Many residents in the building are retired and elderly, so many of the books are from the 70’s, 60’s, 50’s, 40’s and even the 30’s, the odd time. The ones from the 30’s and 40’s feel like historical artifacts and I like to browse through them just for that reason.
This book is one of those that you can’t put down even after just the first few paragraphs. The novel is clever, light and profound. The story is told alternately from the perspective of a Nigerian refugee, Little Bee, and an English magazine editor, Sarah.
Little Bee has narrowly escaped the militia of her native land and heads for England, where she is detained at an immigration detention center for two years and escapes only because a fellow detainee exchanges their freedom for sexual favours with a detention officer. Sarah is on her way to her husband’s funeral with her 4-year-old son Charlie (a.k.a Batman), when Little Bee appears on her front step.
As the story unfolds, we find out that an earlier chance encounter between the two women changed the course of both of their lives and they need to deal with issues of suicide, betrayal, murder and what is to become of Little Bee.