José Luis de Juan was born on Mallorca, in Spain’s Balearic Islands. He is the author of eight novels, as well as stories, non-fiction and poetry, for which he has received literary awards in Spain and abroad. He writes for journals such as El País and Revista de Libros, and has been a member of the Jury for the IMPAC International Award. Napoleon’s Beekeeper was the winner of the prestigious ‘Premio Novela Breve Juan March Cencillo’.
128 pages Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm Published February 2020 ISBN 9781925818239
On the island of Elba, Andrea Pasolini awaits the arrival of the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. Pasolini is a half-hearted beekeeper whose first love is reading – a secret, illicit activity he undertakes in his cellar at night. A surprising and obsessive relationship develops between the two men, a slow-building mystery around an anticipated meeting (and a meeting of minds) that is constantly deferred. Napoleon’s Beekeeper is meticulously constructed from an array of sources that arise organically from the narrative. Throughout, there is the through-line of bees, their social organisation, and one man’s realisation that they inspired Napoleon and were his secret weapon, as well as an exploration of what it means for one’s life and character to be shaped by life on an island.