Monday, 9 March 2009

My Thoughts: The Hive by Camilo Jose Cela

This was my second Orbis Terrarum read. The chain so far = House of Spirits -> The Hive (as they are both homes)

This is one of those books were I'm not really sure what to say. The book centers around a busy cafe in Madrid, with a rather bossy owner, she is domineering, unapproachable to both staff and customers and is so frightening that the staff makes tons of mistakes out of fear. I'm assuming that she is a metaphor for the Spanish dictator during the Spanish civil war, as the book is set just after the war.
The novel is hundreds of short segments each featuring glimpses into customers and employees of the cafe and their relatives. As over 100 characters are introduced it is often hard to follow a story through, so I'll give you a few ideas of the types of common themes. Many of the young girls turn to prostitution or are having affairs, the men are ofte immoral, sleeping with prostitutes or weaklings afraid of the matriarch. There are also a lot of comments on the dysfunctional family, who appear happy on the surface but has much going on below the water.

I read this fairly quickly and thought it was ok, but as there were so many characters (in just 250 pages),I wasn't ever that gripped or particuarly drawn in.

Orbis Terrarum 2/10
Banned and Challenged 1/4
A-Z (Title)
The Decades Challenge (1950s)
My Year of Reading Dangerously 2/12
Lost in Translation (from Spanish)


Elizabeth said...

I bet all the characters were supposed to represent bees in a hive. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it! =)

katrina said...

Yeah I gues they were and she was queen bee

bethany said...

when I clicked on this I thought I had seen it, as it is a movie called "La Colmena" but it doesn't sound like the same thing. I know yours is a book, but the stories don't really line up.

Sorry it was strange for you, I hate that when books are just too weird.