Vintage Margaret Atwood meets Patricia Highsmith in this slyly seductive debut set on an eerily beautiful farm teeming with secrets.
The drought has discontented the bees. Soil dries into sand; honeycomb stiffens into wax. But Cynthia knows how to breathe life back into her farm: offer it as an artists' colony with free room, board, and "life experience" in exchange for backbreaking labour. Silvia, a wide-eyed graduate and would-be poet, and Ibrahim, a painter distracted by constant inspiration, are drawn to Cynthia's offer, and soon, to each other.
But something lies beneath the surface. The edenic farm is plagued by events that strike Silvia as ominous: taps run red, scalps itch with lice, frogs swarm the pond. One by one, the other residents leave. As summer tenses into autumn, Cynthia's shadowed past is revealed and Silvia becomes increasingly paralyzed by doubt. Building to a shocking conclusion, The Honey Farm announces the arrival of a bold new voice and offers a thrilling portrait of creation and possession in the natural world.
"An aura of mystery, faintly tinged with menace, permeates Canadian author Lye's sensuous debut novel." —Publishers Weekly (US)
"With a strong command of tone and a haunting sense of atmosphere, Lye's first novel will transfix readers. At times lyrical, biblical, and otherworldly, The Honey Farm is a suspenseful and well-crafted story." —Booklist
"Mysterious, suspenseful, and unnerving, The Honey Farm offers a thrilling narrative that examines the distorted realities and conflicting perceptions that often exist in the quietest places." —Iain Reid, bestselling author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things, an NPR Best Book of the Year, 2016
"I loved this book. The way Harriet Alida Lye captures and registers moments of encounter with gentleness and specificity, like bees bumping against flowers—there's magic afoot here." —Lauren Elkin, author of Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London (A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice)
"Each lyrical line feels like a gift left at the reader's altar. A honey-mouthed debut ruminating on creation, possession, and faith." —Kirkus Reviews
"Lye is at her best when describing the natural world ... When it comes to creating suspense, The Honey Farm succeeds almost too well." —New York Times
"The Honey Farm is a delightful and mistily enigmatic story...I am putting The Honey Farm on the 2018 longlist for a 'Very Best!' Book Award for fiction." —The Miramichi Reader
"Lye evokes gothic tropes and an aura of foreboding that recall Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier by way of the tortured Catholicism of Flannery O'Connor." —A Quill & Quire Editor's Pick